It’s been a couple days now since Rafael dos Anjos dominated Anthony Pettis to become the UFC Lightweight Champion, and the MMA world is still adjusting to the new status quo. Heading into UFC 185, a lot of folks were looking forward to a bout between Pettis and Khabib Nurmagomedov, and now, clearly, that’s not going to happen any time soon.
So who will dos Anjos face in his first title defense? Nurmagomedov is booked to fight Donald Cerrone on May 23rd, and the winner of that fight will move on to face the new champ. Well, recently the renowned coach of dos Anjos, Rafael Cordeiro, spoke to Brazil’s Globo, and here is some of what he had to say (quote via Bloody Elbow.com):
“Khabib will probably win and then we can erase that loss that’s been bugging us so much. It’ll be a tough fight, our wrestling and jiu-jitsu will have to be on point, but this time we will break him down. Our time has come and we will go strong”.
Cordeiro certainly isn’t the only one who is picking Nurmagomedov to defeat Cerrone, even though the latter has been on quite the roll. “The Eagle”, however, has gone 6-0 to date in the UFC, and no one has really come close to defeating the world class grappler, including dos Anjos. The champion faced Nurmagomedov last April and lost the bout via unanimous decision.
Dos Anjos, of course, appears to have taken his game to a new level in recent outings, and Cordeiro had this to say about the Brazilian’s championship win.
“Rafael is a great athlete, I love to work with him,” Cordeiro said. “We’ve been going strong together for the past 10 years. Most of my fighters enter fights as underdogs, but we use that as motivation. We knew how to beat Pettis in every aspect of the game, and everything we practiced led us to this victory. Rafael fought the champion and also as a champion. He was dominant like a champion, and it certainly was the best performance of his life. It’s not everyday someone dominates Pettis like that.”
Yup. It was pretty impressive and remarkable performance. Now it will be interesting to see how long dos Anjos will hold onto the belt. It will also be interesting to see if Pettis can work his way back into a rematch with the new champ.