Rafael dos Anjos knows finish line closer than start, but still truckin’ at UFC 299

MIAMI – Rafael dos Anjos has been around the block in the UFC, and he seems to have a realistic view on what’s left in the tank.

At 39, dos Anjos nearly is eight years removed from when he lost the UFC lightweight title to Eddie Alvarez after one successful title defense. He’s had a welterweight title shot since then, but the los to Alvarez started his current slide, which sees him at 7-8 over the two divisions.

But despite the recent setbacks, and the likelihood that a return to title contention would be a monumental undertaking, dos Anjos (32-15 MMA, 21-13 UFC) said he’s not considering retirement ahead of his lightweight fight against Mateusz Gamrot (23-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at UFC 299 (pay-per-view, ESPNews, ESPN+) on Saturday at Kaseya Center in Miami.

“I’m not just listening to my body, but also how are you performing, and I look at my previous fights and I’m still performing well,” dos Anjos told MMA Junkie and other reporters at media day for UFC 299. “I’m still going at this with bigger guys and younger guys and still training. As long as I’m around and able to train and performing well, I’m going to keep doing it.”

Gamrot’s trajectory has been mostly upward after he got past the hurdle of a loss to Guram Kutatedladze in his promotional debut in 2020, which was the first loss of his career. Only a decision setback to perennial contender Beneil Dariush has kept. him from perfect in that stretch, including three post-fight bonus awards.

Gamrot is as much as a 5-1 betting favorite, making him by far the biggest favorite in South Florida this week. But Brazil’s dos Anjos seems to realize how stern the test in front of him might wind up being – and he thinks it could be a banger for the fans, too, which might be as satisfying as getting back in the title picture.

“Since I’m not getting any big names right now – Gamrot’s a big name, but he’s not a UFC star – I’m just happy to be able to provide for my family and keep competing. I think having good performances, big fights will come.”

Check out dos Anjos’ full interview in the video above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 299.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie