Rafael dos Anjos is coming off a series of good performances and five consecutive wins, but he is not yet in the discussion for a shot at the lightweight title held by Anthony Pettis. A good performance this Saturday against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FOX in Orlando may help his cause in trying to become champion, though.
"There are a lot of fighters who get a shot at the title by talking. I prefer to do my job the best way so I deserve it. I want a shot at the belt through my work," he said.
This weekend’s card will also feature four other Brazilians: Hernani Perpetuo (fighting Jordan Mein), Caio Magalhaes (challenging Luke Zachrich), Edson Barboza (facing Donald Cerrone), and Fabricio Werdum (who battles Travis Browne in the main event).
UFC.com caught up with Dos Anjos to discuss his matchup with Nurmagomedov…
You’re seeking your sixth straight win; how important is this fight for you to move up the rankings?
My focus is to get a shot at the belt. Things went well against Donald Cerrone (a win by decision in 2013). Facing Khabib Nurmagomedov, a rival that nobody wants to face and who is undefeated with 21 wins (five in the UFC) certainly weighs heavily in my career.
Do you believe you need to sell yourself more to get that title shot?
Many fighters get a shot at the title by talking. I prefer to do my job the best way so I deserve it. I want a shot at the belt through my work.
Your last four wins are by decision; are you motivated to try to change that with a knockout or submission?
I do not fight to win on points; I've tried to get the KO, but unfortunately could not. I always try to end my fights as soon as possible. I surrender to God and do my job. A submission or knockout could help for a possible title shot.
The chance of a title shot in 2014 is remote, since Anthony Pettis will face Gilbert Melendez in December. Does this discourage you?
I have a family, and I need to work to support them. I will fight this Saturday and continue training. It can happen that someone gets injured. Even on The Ultimate Fighter, coaches can get hurt.