Rafael dos Anjos dominated Anthony Pettis at UFC 185 to become the new lightweight champion on Saturday night with an impressive all-round display, and then revealed that he’d fought the entire fight with a damaged knee.
“The day that [the UFC] was shooting the Countdown with me, the same day they were shooting some part of my sparring session, I bumped my knee,” Dos Anjos revealed at the post-fight press conference. “And I think for the fact that I’d been so active, my whole career I’ve never had a knee injury. My whole life. My knee’s really, really tough. I’ve got a strong knee. But for the first time this happened. And it was like three weeks ago — I couldn’t grapple, I couldn’t wrestle since then
“And I don’t know if you guys noticed, but I did a kick at the open work outs. I didn’t use any kicks because I was kind of dehydrated and I didn’t want my injury to get worse. So everything [would go] perfect during the fight.”
There was certainly no sign of the injury on Saturday night – in fact he put on the performance of his career, taking the fight by the scruff of the neck and managing to both oustrike and outgrapple Pettis comprehensively for the full 25 minute encounter.
Impressive stuff and it wasn’t just a one-off as Dos Anjos has shut down a number of highly regarded fighters in recent times, having also KO’d former champion Ben Henderson in the opening round of their bout last year and convincingly beaten the likes of Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone.
In fact he’s only lost one of his last 10 fights against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and it just so happens that the Russian may be the first man to test Dos Anjos’ grip on the belt as his upcoming fight with Cerrone has been confirmed as the next No.1 contender bout.