There can’t be a fan of MMA who hasn’t heard of Rafael Dos Anjos, one of the most feared fighters in the current crop. He was born and raised in Brazil, and he was always a troublesome kid who got into fights in schools and on the streets. Discipline in his life was maintained to some extent when he enrolled in a martial arts class to learn Jiu Jutsu. He won multiple Jiu-Jitsu events and eventually received a black belt, an honor bestowed upon only a select few.
He competed in regional MMA events with tournaments in Brazil, and he performed well enough to expect a call from the UFC, the ultimate objective for all MMA artists on the globe, and he earned his first shot at UFC 91 in 2008. After losing his first two fights, he was concerned about his future in the UFC, but he won his third fight in September 2009, and he hasn’t looked back since. As a result, he has won titles like the UFC Lightweight Champion, Fight of the Night, Submission of the Night, and Performance of the Night.
Childhood and Adolescence
Rafael Dos Anjos was born on October 26, 1984, in the Brazilian metropolis of Rio de Janeiro to lower-middle-class parents. He was raised in the Niteroi neighborhood, which was not ideal, and exposed Rafael to bullying by other children. But he demonstrated that he wasn’t to be trifled with by giving the bullies a taste of their own medicine. He was always getting into fights in schools and on the streets of Rio, prompting his parents to come up with another solution to deal with their son’s violent tendencies.
He engaged in Jiu-Jitsu classes, which is a Japanese martial art style. Rafael made the decision primarily because he was a fan of Rickson Gracie, whom he witnessed in one of the first televised MMA fights. Rafael was 13 years old at the time, and he fell in love with MMA right away, fantasizing about appearing on television in an MMA battle. Rafael became an apprentice to Roberto Barradas, a well-known teacher in his community. Rafael stayed with him for the following three years, learning the art of Jiu-Jitsu.
Rafael Anjos’ family relocated to Minas Gerais after receiving his blue belt, which proved to be the most significant turning point in his life. He met Aldo Januario at the Gracie-Barra academy and became Aldo’s student. Rafael went on to win the National Championship in the junior event of Jiu Jutsu, and after earning the Purple Belt, he targeted various more tournaments and championships, where he frequently emerged victoriously.
Early Years in BJJ/MMA
His first brush with MMA came in 2004 when he faced Rafael Abu in a battle at a local MMA show. Rafael Dos Anjos was 19 years old at the time, and he suffered a crushing defeat by split decision in his very first encounter. Although it was his debut match, and losing the first match of his career wasn’t exactly a terrible feat, the MMA bug struck him hard, and it was evident that Rafael wouldn’t rest until he made a name for himself in the MMA circuit.
Rafael began training more rigorously and competed in several MMA and Jiu-Jitsu events, in addition to Submission wrestling, and achieved further honors in the form of Brazilian National Championships in BJJ, and eventually, in 2005, he received a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, the ultimate goal of every martial arts practitioner. The next year, he went worldwide with events in Europe, where he instructed young trainees and competed in several BJJ tournaments.
His massive success in BJJ did not deter him from his goals of making it big in the MMA circuit, and he quickly traveled to Rio, where he began training with Gracie Fusion, a prominent MMA team. Rafael benefited from this collaboration, and he ended up winning multiple local and national championships for his squad. It was in 2008, when Rafael came to America to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, that Ultimate Fighting Championship called him. Rafael’s demands grew stronger, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship called him when he came to the US to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
A career in the UFC
Rafael was knocked out by his opponent in the third round of his first UFC 19 battle against Jeremy Stephens. Rafael’s second bout was a lot more intense, and he gave his opponent, Tyson Griffin, a strong competition, and they both won the honor of “Fight of the Night” by the end of the evening, but Rafael had to wait for his first UFC triumph. Rafael beat Rob Emerson in his third UFC fight in September 2009. Rafael didn’t say how he won.
This victory gave him the confidence to go on a winning streak as if he had discovered the secret to success, and Rafael went on to win two more games in a row after that. Rafael lost to Clay Guida in an August 2010 fight, and in subsequent fights he faced many notable fighters, winning against Kyle Bradley, Kamal Shalorus, and George Satiropoulus but losing to Gleison Tibau and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
After all of his losses and successes, everyone agreed on one thing: Rafael was gradually refining his technique and becoming a force to be reckoned with. His battle against Benson Henderson in August 2014 earned him his first “Performance of the Night” bonus award. He won the fight by knocking out Benson in the first round, becoming one of the few fighters to defeat Benson so cleanly.
Rafael Dos Anjos fought Anthony Pettis for the UFC Lightweight Championship in the spring of 2015, and Rafael won by unanimous decision. This title win also earned him the “Performance of the Night” award. In his first championship defense match, he faced Donald Cerrone in December 2015 and knocked him out in less than 66 seconds in the first round. This was the quickest victory in a UFC title battle in the organization’s history. This display of bravery and raw brilliance earned him another “Performance of the Night” award.
However, he lost the title in a bout against Eddie Alvarez in July 2016, when Alvarez knocked Rafael out in the first round. Rafael was the overwhelming favorite in the bout, so this came as a huge surprise. Later testing revealed that he was not completely fit for the bout due to the dramatic weight cutbacks he had to make. Later in his career, he lost a fight to Tony Ferguson and won a fight against Tarec Saffiedine.
Rafael Dos Anjos is a married guy with two boys from separate marriages.