Former undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos is reportedly currently in Las Vegas, Nevada — cutting weight, in the eventuality that his service is called upon by the promotion, as a replacement fighter for the UFC 264 lightweight headliner between fellow former champions, Dustin Poirier, and Conor McGregor.
dos Anjos, who is currently ranked as the #7 rated lightweight in the UFC’s official rankings pile, confirmed to Brazilain outlet, Combate that he is the backup fighter for the rubber match trilogy bout between former interim lightweight titleholder, Poirier and former two-weight gold holder, McGregor.
Returning to the lightweight limit of 155lbs last November at UFC Vegas 14 — dos Anjos took home a rather clear-cut split decision victory over short-notice replacement, the recently retired, Paul Felder — snapping a run of two straight losses for the Brazilian.
Once scheduled to meet with Crumlin native, McGregor — then-lightweight champion, dos Anjos was forced from his second attempted defence of the championship at a slated UFC 196 headliner back in March of 2016, after he had suffered a broken foot in training ahead of the bout. McGregor would go on to headline the event against short-notice replacement, Nate Diaz, where he suffered a second round rear-naked choke loss.
A former lightweight champion, Niteroi native, dos Anjos lifted the undisputed championship with an impressive unanimous decision win over promotional alum and former WEC lightweight best, Anthony Pettis.
In the Brazilian’s sole successful title defence, he stopped two-time foe, Donald Cerrone with a first round barrage in the main event of UFC Fight Night Orlando back in December of 2015.
Poirier and McGregor round out their trilogy of pairings this weekend at the T-Mobile Arena, with the score sitting level at one win apiece between the two.
Straight Blast Gym mainstay, McGregor drew first blood back in September of 2014 at UFC 178 — handing Poirier a knockout loss inside just 90-seconds of the first round.
In January of this year, seven years following their first outing, Poirier avenged his knockout loss by stopping McGregor with second round strikes at UFC 257 on ‘Fight Island’ — setting up Saturday’s rubber match.
Responding to rumours that dos Anjos would possibly serve as a backup opponent in the eventuality he is required by the UFC, McGregor encouraged the promotion to put the Brazilian in the Octagon at the same time as his fight with Poirier; “Put (Rafael) dos Anjos in at the same time,” McGregor posted on his official Twitter.