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07th Jan 2017

Rafael Dos Anjos appears to have given up all hope of ever getting his red panty night

Interesting move.

Patrick McCarry

Rafael Dos Anjos probably had other ideas when 2016 started.

Then the lightweight champion, he earned himself a lucrative title defence against Conor McGregor at UFC 197. That pay-per-view event was bumped back to UFC 196 after another PPV card went south but it was still expected to be a massive event.

If McGregor beat the Brazilian, he would be the UFC’s first ever fighter to hold two weight division titles.

Dos Anjos was set for the biggest pay-day of his career after being chosen as the first recipient of McGregor’s infamously coined ‘red panty night’. During an electric UFC 196 press conference, McGregor declared:

“I will parade his head through the streets of Rio de Janeiro. There will be a parade I imagine, a national holiday.

“Dos Anjos brings the name of Brazil down. I will bring the name of Brazil up again. Viva La Brasilia!”

All that changed, however, in late February 2016 when Dos Anjos broke a bone in his foot sparring for the fight.

He was out of UFC 196 and was replaced by Nate Diaz. The main event became a welterweight bout.

Dos Anjos recovered in time for UFC 200 but he did not get his wish to fight there. Instead, he fought Eddie Alvarez at a Fight Night event, two days out from what was then billed as the PPV event of the year. Alvarez tore into Dos Anjos and took his belt in devastating fashion.

He tried to prove he was not a busted flush by facing Tony Ferguson at another Fight Night event. This time it was in Brazil but the result was the same – a comprehensive defeat.

Now, Dos Anjos has made the bold step of departing the UFC’s lightweight division:

The Brazilian insists he is making the move from 155 to 170lbs for his health and he hopes that he can climb the welterweight ranks in rapid succession this year.

Dos Anjos will, most likely, need to take on a top 10 fighter before he can start pressing for a title shot. It would be interesting to see him test himself against established 170lber, and SBG stable-mate of McGregor, Gunnar Nelson.

McGregor fought Diaz twice at welterweight last year but his next step up a division, were he to take it, would be straight for the title. Diverging paths and all that.