Rafael dos Anjos says Islam Makhachev should’ve defended vs. ‘a real challenge,’ not Alexander Volkanovski

Rafael dos Anjos is not too fond of the UFC’s upcoming title bout at 155 pounds.

The former lightweight champion would’ve like to seen titleholder Islam Makhachev defend the belt against a contender in the weight class, not featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev and Volkanovski clash in the UFC 284 main event Feb. 11 in Perth, Australia.

Dos Anjos (32-14 MMA, 21-12 UFC) is picking Makhachev to beat Volkanovski and retain his title.

“I think Islam will win that fight,” dos Anjos said at the UFC on ESPN 42 post-fight news conference (via MMA Fighting). “I think he could take somebody at lightweight, a real challenge. But these guys, I can’t understand them.”


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Dos Anjos returned to the win column Saturday when he submitted Bryan Barberena in a welterweight bout in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN 42. 

The Brazilian has been successful in two different weight classes during his UFC tenure. Dos Anjos won and defended the lightweight title in 2015. Three years later, he challenged for the interim UFC welterweight belt, but lost a decision to Colby Covington.

If dos Anjos could share one piece advice to Volkanovski, it would be to acclimate to fighting bigger opposition in preparation. He said he felt the strength difference when moving up a division.

“I think in my next fight, I’ll be more adjusted to the weight division,” dos Anjos said. “Bryan is pretty strong, and I kind of forgot how strong guys at 170 are. He’s taller than me. He’s bigger than me. Be prepared. Make sure you have your sparring partners (as) big guys, too, so you have that feeling, so when the fight happens, you don’t get surprised.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 42.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie