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Rafael dos Anjos: 'Of course I can beat' Georges St-Pierre

Rafael dos Anjos turned a corner in his career that saw him go from middling lightweight contender to one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. Before 2012, the Brazilian had a record of 15-6 and had yet to beat an elite fighter at lightweight. But since his last loss to Gleison Tibau, RDA has compiled a record of 10-1 while claiming the UFC lightweight title and knocking off former champions such as Donald Cerrone, Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis. The improvement in the cage is jarring. He’s a relentless pressure fighter who has torn through his opponents.

“I don’t do fight camps anymore because I live in camp,” dos Anjos told Yahoo Sports when asked how he went from fringe contender to dominant force. “I breathe martial arts every day of my life. Every night that I put my head on the pillow, I go to sleep knowing that I can do more. I’m working toward perfection. I’m trying to be the best ever.”

Dos Anjos’ road to establishing himself as the best pound for pound fighter in the world will continue when he faces Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 90 during a fight weekend in Las Vegas that will feature a staggering five title fights. And rest assured, dos Anjos has no desire to be the first to hand over his title to another fighter.

If you play it by the numbers, dos Anjos should have an advantage over Alvarez before they even set foot in the Octagon. Alvarez lost his UFC debut to Donald Cerrone, who was flattened in a matter of minutes by dos Anjos in December. But RDA doesn’t believe that it will have any bearing on what happens in the cage between the two fighters who refuse to take a step back.

“I think every fight is different based on who is fighting,” dos Anjos said. “I know how durable he is and the wars that he has been in. But I’m in my comfort zone and cannot wait to defend my title.”

The champion is ready for the kind of war that Alvarez tends to bring with him into a fight. But while Alvarez has suggested in previous interviews that he can use dos Anjos’ aggressiveness against him, the Kings MMA fighter scoffs at the notion.Rafael dos Anjos will defend his title on July 7 against Eddie Alvarez. (Getty)

“I’m an aggressive fighter but I’m not stupid,” he said. “I have a strategy and that’s why I’m a champion. I don’t know what he means by that but it’s not going to be fun for him on fight night. If I have the opportunity to finish like I did with Cerrone, I will finish him.”

There are big fights on the horizon should dos Anjos get past Alvarez. There’s a possible rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is the last man to beat dos Anjos over two years ago. Dos Anjos believes the unbeaten Russian certainly deserves a shot at the title and is definitely interested in getting revenge. But there was also a report that Georges St-Pierre may be interested in fighting at lightweight. If that’s true, dos Anjos would certainly love to face the man he considers his idol.

“I’ve always said GSP is one of my idols and I’ve always looked up to him,” he said. “I like the way he fights and I like who he is outside of the Octagon as well. But if I have the chance to fight one of my idols, of course I’m going to take it.”

And don’t think for one second that dos Anjos will be starstruck by standing across the cage from one of the most dominant champions in the history of the UFC. It’s a fight that dos Anjos would love to have because he has no doubt he can beat him.

“Of course I can beat him,” he said with a laugh. “I am confident in my game and can beat anybody.”

And if it isn’t St-Pierre, dos Anjos couldn't care less who they throw at him next. It could be a rescheduling with Conor McGregor – who dos Anjos was supposed to fight in March before having to pull out due to an injury – or it can be Nate Diaz. It doesn’t matter to RDA; all that matters is that he’s defending his title and continuing to show that he’s the best in the world.

“I don’t pick my fights but whoever deserves a shot at my title I will beat them," dos Anjos said. "I don’t care if it’s Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz or whoever. My job is to defend this title.”

 

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