Heading into UFC on ESPN 4, Rafael dos Anjos taking old school approach to latest title run

SAN ANTONIO – Rafael dos Anjos is taking the same approach to reaching the UFC welterweight title as he did to capture the lightweight strap.

Dos Anjos’ (29-11 MMA, 18-9 UFC) strategy consists of not waiting around for the “perfect fight,” keeping active and winning impressively. That’s why he’s turning around just two months after his win over Kevin Lee to fight Leon Edwards (17-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 4 headliner.

“I told myself I’m not going to be able to catch the rankings right now,” dos Anjos told MMA Junkie on Wednesday at open workouts. “There’s really crazy things going on. I can’t sit on my couch waiting for the perfect fight. I got to be active. My little boy is turning 10 months old today, and I’ve just got to be active, provide for them.”

When dos Anjos claimed the UFC’s 155-pound title in March 2015, he did so on the heels of a stretch in which he won eight of nine. He was a frequent octagon visitor during the second half of that run, and although he lost a fight in the middle, he still got a crack at gold anyway.

“When I had my run for the lightweight title, I had five fights in 11 months,” dos Anjos said. “Back then there was no rankings. I had to fight anybody that the UFC gave to me. Now I’ve got to do the same. A victory is a victory. Edwards is a tough guy. He’s coming on a seven-win streak, but I’m looking forward to end that win-streak.”

Dos Anjos knows there’s a lot of activity going on at welterweight right now. He’s only one win removed from back-to-back losses to Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, but the Brazilian is aware it only takes one performance to change the narrative of who deserves a title fight.

“I saw (Jorge) Masvidal jump ahead of me in the rankings (after his knockout of Ben Askren),” dos Anjos said. “He got a good win. There’s (Anthony) Pettis and (Nate) Diaz over there too, and Pettis, he’s on the top 10 too. It’s just a matter of opportunity. If it happens to be my time, everything will work out. I just have to be sure to be ready. If the opportunity presents I’ll be ready to take it.”

UFC on ESPN 4 takes place at AT&T Center in San Antonio. The entire card airs on ESPN.

For more on UFC on ESPN 4, check out the UFC schedule.

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