Rafael Dos Anjos targets May fight with Conor McGregor and vows to make Irishman 'pay for his trash talk'

Dos Anjos joins the long list of UFC fighters trying to secure a showdown with the sports biggest star – however, for the Brazilian, the rivalry means more than an enhanced paycheck.

The pair were set to collide in March 2016, with then UFC featherweight champion McGregor moving up to lightweight to challenge for Dos Anjos’ strap.

Dos Anjos was forced out of the affair, however, two weeks before fight night due to a broken ankle – as Nate Diaz famously stepped in and handed McGregor his first ever UFC loss.

Despite never getting to trade punches with The Notorious, Dos Anjos still had to persevere with McGregor’s relentless trash talk in the build up to the fight that never happened.

McGregor mocked Dos Anjos for leaving Brazil to train full-time in America – branding the Rio de Janeiro born a "traitor".

Speaking exclusively to SunSport, Dos Anjos revealed his frustration at losing out at the chance to ‘put his hands’ on McGregor.

Dos Anjos said: “I’m an old school guy – I take it personal and like he always does he talks a lot about my country before the fight, that’s his style to promote fights.

“It gives me more motivation to get in the cage with him and get my hands on him and make him pay for his trash talk.

“If one day we get to fight, of course, he will pay for what he said.

“I got frustrated because a lot of people said, ‘You lost a big pay day’ – I wasn’t frustrated because of that.

“I was frustrated because I couldn’t make it as I was injured. I’ve never pulled out of a fight due to injury, that was my first time, I broke my foot, I was in a cast for six weeks.”

McGregor, currently suspended for his part in the UFC 229 post-fight melee, recently expressed his interest in fighting in Brazil, and alluded to how he almost secured a fight in Rio last year.

Although the UFC never went public with their plans for the Irishman to fight in Brazil, SunSport understand an interim welterweight title fight with Dos Anjos was targeted.

Dos Anjos was set to fight trash talker Colby Covington in Rio – but due to the Amercian’s verbal attacks on Brazil the UFC did not feel confident on making the fight.

They instead agreed a deal with McGregor – only for The Notorious to have those plans scrapped after he was involved in an attack on a bus holding UFC fighters inside in April last year.

Covington would go on to fight and beat Dos Anjos, only after the interim welterweight fight was moved from Rio to Chicago.

After losing out on two opportunities to fight McGregor, Dos Anjos is making one last surge to finally meet the man that has eluded him and targeted a showdown at UFC 237 on May 11 in Brazil.

Dos Anjos said: “I would love to have had the fight, at this stage in my career I want to take fights that excites me.

“I’ve reached the top, I was the first Brazilian to have the lightweight title and I defended it successfully.

“As of now, at this stage I want super-fights – I promised myself I would never fight at lightweight again, but for a big fight with Conor I think it would be worth the cut.

“We’ve had fights booked already – we got it close twice. We were supposed to fight in Brazil and now he shows interest in fighting in Brazil.

“We have a show in May for Brazil I would love that fight then. A lot of people want to see this fight.”

Dos Anjos will have to join a long list of men calling for a fight with The Notorious – with UFC chief Dana White previously starting lightweights Donald Cerrone and Dustin Poirier sit in pole position to meet McGregor next.

However, former lightweight champion Dos Anjos believes his history with the 30-year-old mixed in with their recent form will be enough to secure a shot at his rival.

Dos Anjos added: “Me and McGregor, we are 3-2 in our last fights, this fight was already scheduled to happen, twice – we have the history.

“Cerrone is a tough guy and Poirier too, they’re doing good in their careers – but they’ve never had the belt.

“They wasn’t champion, I’ve had the belt, been champion and fought for the interim welterweight title.

“I’ve moved up to one of the toughest weight division in the UFC – but I’m still flexible to fight in any weight division – so I think this fight will happen.”

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