Rafael dos Anjos desires to lastly battle Conor McGregor and put one of many UFC’s all-time “what ifs” to relaxation.

Dos Anjos (30-13 MMA, 18-11 UFC) and McGregor (22-Four MMA, 10-2 UFC) had been presupposed to face off for the light-weight title at UFC 196 in March 2016. “The Infamous” was the featherweight champ on the time, and was transferring as much as problem dos Anjos in his quest to turn into the UFC’s first simultaneous dual-weight champion.

The bout was derailed lower than two weeks out, although, when dos Anjos suffered a damaged foot in coaching. He was changed by Nate Diaz, who submitted McGregor on quick discover in a welterweight battle to kickstart a sequence response of occasions which nonetheless ripples to today.

Dos Anjos’ withdrawal from UFC 196 nonetheless stays the one time in his almost 16-year profession that he’s pulled out of a battle. He doesn’t let the missed alternative devour him, however he thinks there’s nonetheless an opportunity to make up for what by no means got here to fruition.

“The entire historical past,” dos Anjos instructed MMA Junkie when requested why he nonetheless desires the battle. “I used to be the light-weight champion, he was coming as much as problem me and likewise, I received a whole lot of fights. That was the one one which I didn’t make it. That’s what I wish to have on my file, a battle with Conor. That’s why I tweeted out, ‘No extra ifs.’ You see lots of people say, ‘If that battle would’ve occurred; If RDA gained, If Conor gained, what would’ve occurred with Conor? If Conor had misplaced what would’ve occurred?’ Quite a lot of ifs. So it’s time to simply put that factor on the desk and let’s go. Let’s make this battle occur at any weight.”

McGregor claims he’s retired from MMA. The Irish famous person not too long ago introduced for the third time in 4 years that he’s strolling away from competitors, and clarified afterward that he doesn’t see many fascinating choices on the market, and the UFC isn’t fulfilling his want to remain energetic.

Dos Anjos has his hand approach up within the air as a keen foe, ought to McGregor want to return. And he thinks the timing is definitely fairly excellent.

“I don’t consider he’s retiring proper now,” dos Anjos stated. “That’s his third time retiring. I’m not shopping for that. I don’t suppose no one is shopping for that. He’s too younger and I consider he nonetheless has lots in him. I don’t suppose he’s retiring proper now.

“In the event you have a look at the entire scenario, with me and Conor, I’m forward of him within the rankings at welterweight and this battle was presupposed to occur 4 years in the past and it didn’t occur. That might be an amazing battle. That’s the battle to make.”

UFC 196 wasn’t the one time a matchup between McGregor and dos Anjos had almost materialized. The pair had been near combating for an interim welterweight belt at UFC 224 in Might 2018, however then McGregor had his notorious bus-attack second wherein he went after rival Khabib Nurmagomedov and induced a number of others to be damage or negatively impacted within the course of.

The competition was then pulled from consideration and dos Anjos confronted Colby Covington for the interim strap at UFC 225, a battle dos Anjos misplaced, and the thought of a McGregor battle hasn’t come again round since. With each males being chargeable for a fallout, dos Anjos hopes the third time is the allure.

“UFC was going to make the announcement we had been going to battle for the interim title in Brazil, the welterweight title, however that wasn’t my fault,” dos Anjos stated. “That was his fault. He determined to interrupt the bus after which it didn’t occur. The whole lot occurs for a cause. I received damage that day. … My complete profession I received 42 fights and I by no means pull out attributable to damage. That was the primary time ever and I might like to run that battle once more. I might like to have a very good camp and get that battle once more.”

Though lots has occurred within the four-plus years since dos Anjos and McGregor had been initially booked to share the octagon, dos Anjos stated one factor hasn’t modified over time: He’s a nasty matchup for McGregor.

Dos Anjos claims he was totally ready to battle injured at UFC 196 – and nonetheless get the win anyway – however the injury to his foot was past something he might work round.

“I’ve no doubts I might beat him,” dos Anjos stated. “No doubts in my thoughts. I used to be feeling nice within the sparring and coaching with massive guys and was coaching with Lyoto Machida lots, who has a really comparable base to Conor. I used to be coaching actually good with all these guys and I’ve no doubts in my thoughts. Sadly, 13 or 12 days earlier than the battle, in one in all my sparring I kicked the man the flawed approach and I instructed Lorenzo Fertitta, ‘Lorenzo, if I can’t kick I’m nonetheless going to battle. However I can’t stroll. I can’t make it to the cage.’ I used to be compelled to tug out, I used to be in a tough forged and lots of people made jokes.

“Even Conor made jokes that I pulled out with a bruised foot, however it wasn’t the reality. If I had a bruised foot I might nonetheless battle. The kicks had been a part of my recreation for that battle, however I couldn’t make it to the cage, I couldn’t stroll in order that’s why I used to be compelled to tug out.”

Dos Anjos is conscious that UFC desires to maintain McGregor sidelined to battle the winner of the upcoming light-weight title unification bout between Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. McGregor desires to compete, however the promotion isn’t going to throw collectively any random pairing.

The most important UFC fights usually have a powerful backstory and narrative round them. There’s no scarcity of historical past between dos Anjos and McGregor, so the recipe seems proper to lastly make it occur.

“The story speaks by itself,” dos Anjos stated. “The battle was there, we had been scheduled to battle and it is smart. We are able to make each divisions, and I believe not solely me, however lots of people suppose that battle is smart. I believe now the ball is within the UFC’s courtroom. It’s their transfer. I did my transfer already so let’s see what’s going to occur within the subsequent couple weeks.”