Rafael dos Anjos vows to ‘rebuild’, and win the UFC welterweight title

UFC will be flying down to Asia in June, for UFC Fight Night: Holly Holm vs. Bethe Correia. UFC was previously slated to return to the Philippines with UFC Fight Night: Penn vs. Lamas back in October last year, but the card had to be cancelled at the eleventh hour.

The promotion has ensured that the return to Singapore would signal UFC’s intent, regarding their interest in the Asian market. The headlining bout will see Holly Holm take on Bethe Correia. The undercard boasts of significant star power, with Rafael dos Anjos, ‘Stun Gun’ and Andrei Arlovski all scheduled to fight on the card.Also read: Top 5 pure athletes in the UFC today

Talking about dos Anjos, the former champion will be making his welterweight debut and is expected to face Tarec Saffedine. 

RDA is no stranger to Singapore either, as he used to train out of Evolve MMA before switching to Kings MMA. However, RDA has once again changed camps and will be training out of Evolve MMA leading up to his fight in June.Last week, dos Anjos returned to Singapore for a promotional tour, and I managed to catch up with the former lightweight champion for an exclusive.You started your career at Evolve MMA many years ago. 

How does it feel to be back in Singapore?RDA: It’s been great; I enjoy Singapore, and I’ve trained at Evolve MMA in Singapore for over a decade. It feels great. Singapore is my home in Asia; I’m familiar with the city, I have a huge fan base here, and I have the best MMA team in Asia to train, and I will come back one month before (the fight) to finish my training camp at Evolve. I can’t wait to get back inside the Octagon and get the win.Now that you’re back in Singapore, does it bring back any special memories to you?RDA: Of course, I love Singapore. This was the place – Singapore was the place where I fell in love with Muay Thai. 

When I first joined Evolve back in 2009, I was a grappler – a jiu-jitsu fighter. Right now, I have a great stand-up game; I still have a lot of (expertise in other areas) too. But this was the place where I really started training in Muay Thai. When you say you’re going to train at Evolve, is it because you want to get acclimatised to the climate in Singapore? Or is it because it just makes sense to come down here a month prior and train with people you know?RDA: 

The reason I will come — of course, it is to acclimate to the change, and to enjoy the place, to enjoy at Evolve. To have a good training camp here, to get better every day. You have high-level guys here as well, so why not?You will be moving up to 170 lbs to fight Saffedine. While you’ve spoken about why you decided to move up, can you tell us how you’re feeling during your camp?RDA: I can’t wait to get back at my 100 percent. I think once I’m over that 15-pound weight cut (to compete at 155), I will feel way better. I have so much to show inside the Octagon; I think once I go up a weight class — I think I did everything I had to do at lightweight, so this is a new time of my life, and I will make it great again.

During your past few fights, at any point during the camp and weight cutting process, was it getting difficult for you to make it to 155?RDA: That was so hard for me. It wasn’t always really difficult, but I think all that changed in 2015 – I always say that because I fought five times in eleven months (from April ’14 – March ’15), in less than one year. It’s just – my body changed, and it just got harder and harder to make weight every time.

That was the reason I decided to go up a weight class.You’ve been training and honing your skills with Freddie Roach as well at Wild Card Boxing Club. How has that been coming along?

RDA: 

Actually, I never had the chance to train with Freddie, but I have my boxing coach – his name is Rodel Mayol. He’s from the Philippines and is a part of many big teams. We train at Wild Card, and he’s a great guy, always around ready to help. But I train with Rodel Mayol.
 

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