Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos has recently announced his move up to welterweight after dropping his last two fights. Having suffered punishing defeats to former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and the #2 lightweight Tony Ferguson I am sure much has been on the mind of Dos Anjos. After his loss to Alvarez, Dos Anjos has switched camps and seems to be entering a puzzling point in his impressive career. Here I will discuss my thoughts on Dos Anjos’ move to welterweight and how I believe he will perform at the 170 pound division.
Lightweight vs Welterweight
In my opinion the lightweight division is by far the most talent stacked division in the entire UFC. It is murderers’ row at lightweight featuring names like Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Tony Ferguson at the top of the division. Having been dominated by the top two contenders at lightweight I don’t blame Dos Anjos for seeking greener pastures at welterweight. The welterweight division is no joke but the title picture becomes murky after Woodley, Thompson, Lawler, and Maia. Carlos Condit may retire soon and although Donald Cerrone has looked unstoppable he was dominated twice by Dos Anjos at lightweight. There is no question that there is a clearer path to the title for Dos Anjos at welterweight.
I have heard horror stories about the weight cut Dos Anjos’ had to do in order to make 155 pounds for his bouts at lightweight. There are rumors that while cutting he frequently lost consciousness and had to be resuscitated before standing on the scales. Though the cut was rough I never saw any ill effects in Dos Anjos’ performance at lightweight as he was able to showcase his trademark conditioning by constantly pushing the pace. However after seeing Kelvin Gastelum dismantle Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 I am beginning to wonder exactly how much fighters are limiting their abilities by cutting too much weight. I could very easily see a rejuvenated Dos Anjos at 170 pounds that looks better than ever.
I always thought Dos Anjos was the smaller man at lightweight due to his height and frame which makes me question his ability to hang with the bigger welterweights. Woodley, Thompson, and Maia are giant welterweights and would absolutely tower over the smaller Dos Anjos. Having witnessed Dos Anjos get mauled and thrown around by Khabib Nurmagomedov at lightweight I am concerned with how he will perform against the larger welterweights.
I am very interested to see how Dos Anjos will perform at welterweight especially after seeing fighters such as Kelvin Gastelum and Anthony Johnson look phenomenal at their natural weight classes. Though he may be at a size disadvantage there is no question that Dos Anjos is a very skilled and talented fighter. For his welterweight debut I would very much like to see Dos Anjos fight Gunnar Nelson who was last slated to fight Dong Hyun Kim before being sidelined by injury. After seeing Cerrone absolutely tear through the division I am optimistic that Dos Anjos can make that same kind of impact at 170 pounds.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new UFC article is published, fill out our email notification form.