Former UFC lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos announces move up to welterweight

Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is making big career change.

The Brazilian MMA competitor announced through his social media that he intends to leave the 155-pound division behind him. His next bout inside the Octagon will take place in the welterweight (170-pound) division.

Dos Anjos became one of the best 155-pound fighters in the world by winning five consecutive bouts from 2014 to 2015. During this time, dos Anjos became the first and so far only man to defeat former UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson and schooled MMA superstar Nate Diaz. He also put an effective end to the Anthony Pettis hype-train with his five-round dismantling of the former champion.

After running through the popular Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone to close out 2015, dos Anjos ran into tough times in 2016. He lost the UFC lightweight title via TKO to Eddie Alvarez and would lose his next bout against Tony Ferguson as well. Despite the back-to-back losses, dos Anjos was still regarded as one of the best lightweights in MMA.

However, as indicated by dos Anjos’ tweet, he’s moving up to 170-pounds due to issues with weight cutting. The Brazilian is huge for the 155-pound division and has run into major complications from cutting down before.

With United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) becoming part of the UFC, we’ve seen a number of fighters change weight classes. The ban of IVs has caused a number of complications for fighters used to rehydrating after severe weight cuts. Given the string of changes, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing another fighter choosing to go up a weight class to avoid health complications.

At welterweight, dos Anjos should enjoy a fresh start with plenty of opportunities. One idea being floated around social media is a showdown with former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. That’s a fight that would surely provide fireworks and we haven’t seen Lawler since he dropped the title at UFC 201.

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