Dos Anjos eyes UFC welterweight debut win
Ex-UFC lightweight champion eyes welterweight debut win on June 17
When Rafael dos Anjos made his professional debut as a lightweight fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2008, he lost his first two fights.
Nine years later, the Brazilian has found himself on the back of two straight losses again, ahead of his first bout in the welterweight class.
But, at a UFC Singapore press conference yesterday, dos Anjos was refreshingly honest about his upcoming fight with Belgian Tarec Saffiedine.
The duo will headline the UFC Fight Night 111 event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 17, barring an unconfirmed fight between former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm and Bethe Correia.
Dos Anjos, a former lightweight champion, spoke about his previous losses, including his title defeat by Eddie Alvarez last July, with candor.
The 32-year-old told The New Paper: "It's been a rough year, but I believe that everything happens for a reason.
"The weight cut before my (title) fight (against Alvarez) really messed me up.
"I even passed out a few times (during the weight-cutting period). Looking back, I should've cancelled that fight.
"There's nothing wrong with cancelling, just like Khabib (Nurmagomedov) cancelled on (Tony) Ferguson when he wasn't feeling well (in their interim title match last month)."
The step-up to the welterweight division is his chance to start afresh. He said: "I've done all there is to do (in the lightweight category).
"This (welterweight) win is important not only for me, but also for my family, career and legacy. I know how it works.
"In this sport, people remember you for your last performance - if you lose and then win, they'll say 'Wow, what a comeback'."
Saffiedine will also enter the Octagon on June 17 with two running losses.
While it is typical of fighters to put down their opponents before a fight, dos Anjos did nothing of the sort.
He said: "It's about who wants it more. My strategy will be to push the pace and try hard shots. The first to tire will lose.
"I'll have to be more well-rounded - I'll use my strike, wrestling and jujitsu more.
"(Saffiedine) is in the top 10 of the division and it's a fight that I've been looking for.
"I want the win real bad, to show the welterweight division that I'm here to stay - but there's no rush. I'm taking it step by step."