What’s next for Rafael Dos Anjos after UFC Vegas 14?

Jul 20, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; Rafael Dos Anjos (red gloves) fights Leon Edwards (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at AT&T Center. Edwards won by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of praise is being thrown at Paul Felder (17-6) after UFC Vegas 14. The Irish Dragon stepped up on short notice to take on Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) to save the main event from being scrapped.

While Felder should get a ton of praise, the former UFC lightweight champion should also get some praise. It’s a dangerous thing to take a fight on five days’ notice against an opponent who’s completely different from the opponent you were fighting.

Islam Makhachev is known for his great wrestling. Dos Anjos was prepping for a UFC main event where he’d have to be grappling the majority of the time. Instead, he had to switch to prepare for an elite striker like Paul Felder.

It was a gamble, but it paid off. The former UFC champion used his wrestling and grappling to get the better of Felder over the course of five rounds. In doing so, Dos Anjos made a successful return to the lightweight division.

After struggling with weight cuts a few years ago, RDA decided to move up to welterweight. After initial success, Dos Anjos struggled with the bigger guys at the top of the division. Dos Anjos went 1-4 in his last five which prompted the move back down to lightweight.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 14?

Saturday night was a big first step for the former UFC champion. It wasn’t just about getting the win, but it was about making the weight and not having it impact his cardio. RDA looked great over the course of a grueling five round war.

After the win, Dos Anjos called for a fight with Conor McGregor since they were the only two previous undisputed lightweight champions in the division. McGregor responded saying he was in after he defeats Dustin Poirier.

However, I don’t think RDA is going to go right to the top just yet. I think the UFC will try to give him another matchup against a top contender before getting someone like Conor McGregor.

If I was playing match maker, I think a great fight would be RDA and Charles Oliveira (29-8, 1 NC). Oliveira is currently ranked sixth in the UFC‘s lightweight division and he’s won seven in a row. The winner of that fight would vault right to the top of the lightweight division.