Rafael dos Anjos had absolutely no idea how close he came to receiving another Red Panty Night 4 years ago

Rafael dos Anjos had absolutely no idea how close he came to receiving another Red Panty Night

In December 2015, Rafael dos Anjos had secured the money fight to end all money fights.

After destroying 'Cowboy' Cerrone in his first lightweight title defence, Rafael dos Anjos made the obligatory Conor McGregor call-out. 'The Notorious' had already indicated his intention to try to secure a second UFC strap and RDA provided an adequate promo to make that happen.

Advertisement

"Hey Mr McGregor, if you want to come to lightweight division, this is my division, man. It's better to stay at featherweight division. I will fight you in Brazil. I will go to Ireland to face you there. Wherever you want, man. I'm here to stay."

A champion vs champion super fight was subsequently scheduled for 5 March 2016. McGregor's endeavour to become the first fighter to hold two UFC belts simultaneously gave the event the requisite ingredients for PPV gold. Unfortunately, a week-and-a-half out from the fight, dos Anjos was out. A broken foot suffered in training camp saw those coveted Red Panties slip out of his grasp and right into the hands of Nate Diaz.

By the time McGregor had exacted revenge on the Stockton native, Eddie Alvarez was in possession of the 155 lb strap. When he reduced 'the Underground King's granite chin to rubble, RDA was on a two-fight skid and that McGregor match-up looked lost forever.

Advertisement

Fate stepped in

After losing to Tony Ferguson, dos Anjos moved up and established himself as an elite welterweight contender. Wins over Tarec Saffiedine, Neil Magny and Robbie Lawler saw thrust him into title contention. He only had eyes for Tyron Woodley's belt.

Again, McGregor wasn't even in the discussion. While RDA was going on the tear at 170, he took just one fight - a boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather which he lost via TKO. However, while McGregor was set to be stripped of his lightweight title for inactivity at UFC 223, the promotion had a couple of plans for his return.

Advertisement

According to reports, the UFC had two scenarios in mind. One was pulling Nurmagomedov from the main event and booking him against McGregor for a later date. The second was having McGregor fight for the interim welterweight strap as champion Woodley recovered from surgery. This meant that, somehow, dos Anjos was back at the business end of the Red Panty Night queue.

The incident

Advertisement

Unfortunately for RDA, McGregor throwing a dolly through the bus window meant the plans were scrapped. Instead, RDA will take on Colby Covington for the interim strap at UFC 205. As dos Anjos explained on the MMA Hour, he was never made aware of this proposed bout by the promotion. Not even after he reached out to them.

"Not at all. I didn't hear a thing. I think my friend who's helping me with my contract asked Sean (Shelby), but we haven't heard from him yet."

"This fight was supposed to happen in 2016, but I think it's a good thing. I don't think Conor is interested in defending his title like he did at featherweight and lightweight. I think the next step for him is to try to get the third belt. If I have it... when I have it, not if I have it, when I have it, if he wants to try to take a crack at it, I will be there."

Is the third time the charm? If this trend continues, will we be seeing RDA vs McGregor for the middleweight title in 2020? If that falls through, there's always the light heavyweight option in 2022, we suppose.