Rafael dos Anjos was in an unenviable position on March 5th.
With the taunts of Conor McGregor likely ringing in his ears and his recently broken foot in an elevated position, the UFC lightweight champion watched on as Nate Diaz stepped up to fill his proverbial shoes in the main event of UFC 196.
The vast amount of money that he was less than two weeks away from banking when he suffered the injury was now making it’s way to Stockton instead.
To make matters even worse, Diaz, a man who he had previously beaten, went ahead and caused a huge upset, choking McGregor into submission in the second round, simultaneously reducing the chances that Dos Anjos would get his hands on the Irishman in the immediate future.
So what was RDA thinking at the moment that McGregor’s hand frantically tapped the mat?
“I thought it should be even uglier, I would hurt that guy, man,” the Brazilian told reporters at a media scrum in California on Tuesday.
However, despite the fact that he lost out on what he described as “easy money”, Dos Anjos seemed unperturbed by the financial details.
“I would make a lot of money,” said the fighter. “I like money, everybody likes money. But I don’t love money. If I don’t fight McGregor, I still have a good life. Coming from where I came from, I was born naked with no teeth. Now I have everything”.
“It’s not something that I’m like, ‘Oh man, I should make good money’. I think money comes and goes. What comes easy goes easy. And that would be easy money. But it’s fine, man. If this fight happens down the road, I’will be there. If not, I’m happy with what I’m making. My intention is to keep working hard and keep my title”.
In this regard, the 155lb king is the opposite of the man who ended McGregor’s unbeaten run in the UFC. Diaz has expressed on numerous occasions as of late that he is interested in the biggest fights for the biggest paydays, and that he has little interest in the title. On a recent episode of UFC Tonight, he claimed “I think that title thing is a fairytale, man”.
However, Dos Anjos believes that this is something that fighters tell themselves after they have failed to make it all the way to championship level.
“I think when you did everything you could and you couldn’t reach the top, then you can say ‘no, belts have no value,'” said RDA. “I think people say that because they didn’t get the title and then they say ‘okay, I don’t care for that,’ because they didn’t have it”.
Asked if he would interested in a rematch with Diaz in the near future, Dos Anjos answered in the affirmative. Then again, he isn’t in the habit of turning fights down.
“If they offer it to me, I will be there,” said . “My job is to fight. I never pick any fights, whatever they say I will do”.
But what of a possible rescheduling of the aborted bout with McGregor?
“Talking about Conor McGregor is hard, because he’s the featherweight champion and he’s fighting at 170. I can’t make ’45. I need to take my leg off to make ’45. He’s the guy that wants two belts. He’s the one that talks about it. He wants to be two-division champion. If he wants it and the UFC thinks he has earned it, I will be there”.
Of course, before either of those fights can be talked about seriously, Dos Anjos most overcome the challenge of former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in the headline attraction of UFC Fight Night 90 on July 7th.