RIO DE JANEIRO
After an intense opening press conference in Las Vegas filled with a few more-than-expected barbs from Conor McGregor, UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos landed in Brazil for a media tour and tirelessly discussed his upcoming fight with the Irishman at UFC 197.
With a little less than two months of buildup before the March 5 event, dos Anjos was grateful that he won't be subjected McGregor's antics for long. But dos Anjos also made it very clear that the challenger's sharp tongue won't be an issue for him.
Quite the contrary.
"When it becomes personal, it's even better for me. I fight better that way." -- Rafael dos Anjos on Conor McGregor
“I have this strong trait: When it becomes personal, it's even better for me. I fight better that way,” dos Anjos told reporters in Rio de Janeiro, speaking of the often- insulting attacks lobbed by McGregor. “I'm sure I'll be cold-blooded and dominate the action, put on the pressure and mix takedowns, punches and kicks to confuse his head.”
Dos Anjos, 31, is an experienced athlete. The veteran Brazilian is embarking on his 20th fight for the UFC, and remains an example of perseverance.
After losing two consecutive bouts at the start of his UFC career, as well as overcoming setbacks that delayed his road to the title, RDA is now a consolidated champion.
That experience of going through highs and lows is the reason why Dos Anjos says he has no reason to believe in the latest prediction by “The Notorious MMA” -- which calls for dos Anjos being knocked out in under one minute.
"His predictions have been right so far, but he's only known the good side of the UFC. I've been through the bad and the good, so I think I'll show him the bad side,” said dos Anjos, summoning his Brazilian fans for support. “His crystal ball is going to be blurred, he won't be able to see what's going to happen. He is seeing something, but something completely different will happen.
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"I'm sure this guy is not gonna make history over me. I'm counting with all of you on March 5. Let's beat that skinny guy!”
Jessica Portasio is a digital journalist for UFC.com.br. You can follow her on Twitter @Jeportasio