Rafael dos Anjos returns to welterweight, meets Bryan Barberena at UFC Fight Night in Orlando

Admittedly done chasing UFC titles, Rafael dos Anjos is also giving up on drastic weight cuts.

Former UFC lightweight champion dos Anjos (32-14 MMA, 20-12 UFC) will revert from his brief return to the division where he once held gold and jump back up to welterweight for a clash with Bryan Barberena (18-8 MMA, 9-6 UFC) at UFC Fight Night on Dec. 3.

MMA Junkie confirmed with multiple people close to the situation that the matchup has been agreed to take place at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. Brazilian news outlet Combate was first to report the pairing.

Dos Anjos, 37, won the lightweight title at UFC 185 in 2015 when he defeated Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision. At UFC on FOX 17, he recorded his only title defense by quickly finishing Donald Cerrone in 66 seconds.

In the years since, dos Anjos’ journey has been a series of ups and downs against the best fighters available in the lightweight and welterweight divisions.

Returning from a 15-month layoff in March, dos Anjos defeated Renato Moicano to make it two-straight wins following a split decision nod over Paul Felder in November 2020. However, in his second outing of the calendar year, Rafael Fiziev finished the former champ early in the fifth round of their main event contest.

He’ll get a tough out in his move back to 170 pounds as Barberena, 33, has been on a roll. “Bam Bam” has won four of his past five but has found recent success against legends of the game in scoring a second-round TKO of Robbie Lawler at UFC 276 in July after edging Matt Brown by split decision at UFC on ESPN 33 in March.

The latest lineup for UFC Orlando includes:

  • Stephen Thompson vs. Kevin Holland

  • Derek Brunson vs. Jack Hermansson

  • Tracy Cortez vs. Amanda Ribas

  • Darren Elkins vs. Jonathan Pearce

  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Matt Schnell

  • Eryk Anders vs. Kyle Daukaus

  • Marc Diakiese vs. Michael Johnson

  • Clay Guida vs. Scott Holtzman

  • Emily Ducote vs. Angela Hill

  • Bryan Barberena vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie