Rafael dos Anjos Undergoes Knee Surgery Prior to UFC 267, Still Hopes to Face Makhachev

Rafael dos Anjos recently revealed to Sherdog.com that he underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee approximately two weeks ago that may put his UFC 267 bout against Islam Makhachev in jeopardy.

The Nova Uniao-trained fighter says that he is doing everything he can to keep the bout intact. UFC 267 takes place on Oct. 30 in Abu Dhabi.

“I'm already walking without crutches, in 10 days I need to be able to sparring,” dos Anjos said. “I’m a fighter; I always want to fight. We already told the UFC what happened. By the way, the UFC was great at paying for all my surgery expenses. But of course I can't decide alone. I have to hear from my trainer, my doctor and physiotherapist. We must take the final decision in one week.”

If the bout is canceled, it would be the third time that dos Anjos vs. Makhachev has fallen through. A matchup at UFC 254 was scrapped after dos Anjos contracted COVID-19, while a rebooking in at UFC Fight Night 182 November 2020 was nixed due to a Makhachev staph infection. This time, the Brazilian’s meniscus injury is threatening to cancel the bout.

"It´s been a pretty atypical year for me. I had two surgeries in six months,” dos Anjos said. “But for sure the first one (an abdominal hernia) was much worse.”

Dos Anjos has faced some of the most difficult competition in the sport over the course of his 43-bout, 16-year career. With that in mind, “RDA” doesn’t consider Makhachev to be among the Top 3 most difficult opponents he has faced.

"For sure he is a pretty tough kid, but I never had a easy path,” dos Anjos said. “My history in that sport is always facing the toughest opponents of my division in their prime. I faced Ferguson coming from eight straight wins, Kamaru Usman and Khabib [Nurmagomedov] undefeated, Anthony Pettis coming from five straight wins, [Robbie] Lawler also in great shape. I´m a fighter, I love the most difficult tests, that´s why I really want to keep that fight.”

Dos Anjos beleives that Makhachev having two former UFC champions, Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier, in his camp, helps contribute to the excitement surrounding the Dagestani lightweight contender.

"I see Beneil Dariush beating the same oponents as Islam in a much more impressive fashion, but when you have Khabib in your corner and Cormier commentating on television that you are No. 1 in the division, it is natural to have hype,” dos Anjos said.

“The champion must be respected. Charles Oliveira got nine straight wins, and surpassed the submission records set by Royce Gracie and Demian Maia. Even taking the champion out of the equation, I see the toughest oponents in that division are [Justin] Gaethje, Beneil and Islam, in that order.”

Dos Anjos gives Nurmagomedov a decided edge when comparing him to his training partner, Makhachev.

"I see Islam as being more technical, but he doesn’t like to expose himself to get tired, while Khabib is much more dangerous because he believes in his gas tank and never stops attacking,” dos Anjos said. “That´s why Makhachev didn’t want a five-round fight as I requested. Actually, I have friends who already trained with him and they told me, he is afraid to get tired, so he saves his gas tank.”

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