Dos Anjos (31-13 MMA, 19-11 UFC), a former UFC lightweight champion, was linked with the replacement fight for McGregor’s (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) trilogy fight with Poirier (28-6 MMA, 20 -5 UFC) on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. He weight for the card made, but his services were ultimately unnecessary.
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However, Dos Anjos was part of the story both before and after the fight. He got into a verbal altercation with McGregor backstage at weigh-ins, and when “The Notorious” suffered a broken leg leading to his first-round TKO loss, the Brazilian shot at him on social media.
Dos Anjos was scheduled to fight McGregor in March 2016 at UFC 196, but broken foot suffered only 11 days outside forced him to withdraw. He was replaced by Nate Diaz – who went on to subdue McGregor – and the Irishman has since repeatedly criticized dos Anjos for his inability to make it into the octagon that night.
The tension of that situation has remained, and despite dos Anjos’s claim that he does not wish McGregor any harm, he said he must make his voice heard.
“I don’t believe in karma,” dos Anjos told MMA Junkie Radio on Monday. “I don’t want anything bad for him, I wish him a speedy recovery, but I had to do it. I had to do that. People still joke about my injury. That’s what really bothers me, because people make fun of someone’s injury. I didn’t laugh at his injury. I just showed it because it’s a martial art, we beat each other not only in battle, but also in training. I broke my foot. I was in a cast for six weeks and this man laughed at me. All his fans, all his supporters who laughed at me for years. Now he tastes his own medicine.
“Even Friday at the weigh-ins he said, ‘Hey, you ducked in front of me with a sore foot. He also said the same Friday, that Dustin Poirier would leave the cage on a stretcher and see how it happened. He left on a stretcher with a broken foot. So he gets his own thing. He tastes his own poison and his own medicine and that’s all. I wish him a speedy recovery, but that’s what he got from talking too much.”
Dos Anjos said he was not impressed with what he saw out of McGregor before the injury. The first notable exchanges were competitive, but Poirier’s groundwork took over for the second half of the round. Dos Anjos said he is even more effective in that position, and it would have been a bad night for McGregor if his services had been needed.
“It would look a lot worse,” dos Anjos said. “I think my ground game is much more powerful than Poirier’s. It would be very different. Conor, he looked so untidy, he looked so small. I met him on weigh-in day and we had a little altercation in the back room and he looks so tiny. He looks like a little boy. I would smash that man.”
However, Dos Anjos’ chance to “crush” McGregor will have to wait. He didn’t get his chance at UFC 196 or UFC 264, but if McGregor makes a successful recovery, the stars could potentially align in the future.
There are no regrets about the end of dos Anjos as a UFC 264 replacement. After undergoing surgery earlier this year, he said it gave him something to focus on and work towards. He even offered to do it, and while he wouldn’t have been in perfect shape if he got the call, he’s glad he did.
“Of course I didn’t have the timing for the training that I really needed, but it was good for me because it set the goal that I had to be in shape and I had maybe two or three sparring sessions,” said dos Anjos. “Certainly I wouldn’t be at 100 percent, but that would be a big challenge for me to be a substitute for that fight. It’s a huge fight. Poirier to Conor. I seized the opportunity, I seized the opportunity and they also accepted my offer. It would be a good reward for me and I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ I wouldn’t be 100 percent, it wouldn’t be the ideal camp for me, because four months ago I was in the operating room.”