There isn’t a single fan of Mixed Martial Arts who hasn’t heard of Rafael Dos Anjos, one of the most feared fighters in the current crop. He was born and reared in Brazil, and he was always a troublesome youngster who got into fights in schools and on the streets. When he participated in a martial arts class to learn Jiu Jutsu, he was able to keep some degree of discipline in his life. He won multiple Jiu Jutsu events and was eventually awarded a Black Belt, an honor bestowed on only a select few. He competed in regional MMA tournaments in Brazil and did well enough to receive a call from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the ultimate destination for all MMA fighters in the globe, and he received his first shot at UFC 91 in 2008. After losing his first two fights, he was concerned about his future with the UFC, but he rebounded back in September 2009 with a victory in his third fight, and he hasn’t looked back since. He devised a method of dealing with any opponent with sincerity, earning titles such as 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. Rafael was raised in the Niteroi neighborhood, which was not ideal and exposed him to bullying from other children. However, he demonstrated that he was not to be trifled with by giving the bullies a taste of their own medicine. His parents devised a new approach to deal with their son’s violent tendencies after he was continuously involved in fights at schools and on the streets of Rio.
He began training in Jiu Jitsu, a Japanese martial art technique. Rafael made the decision on his own, primarily because he was a fan of Rickson Gracie, whom he had seen in one of the first broadcast MMA fights. Rafael was 13 years old at the time, and he fell in love with mixed martial arts right away, dreaming of appearing on television in an MMA fight. Rafael became an apprentice to Roberto Barradas, a well-known teacher in his neighborhood. Rafael stayed with him for the following three years, learning the art of Jiu Jutsu.
Rafael’s family relocated to Minas Gerais after receiving his blue belt, and this proved to be the most significant turning point in his life. In the Gracie-Barra academy, he met Aldo Januario and became Aldo’s student. Rafael went on to win the National Championship for Jiu Jutsu in the junior division, and after earning his Purple Belt, he set his sights on a number of other competitions and championships, where he always came out on top.
Early Years in BJJ/MMA
In 2004, he had his first taste of mixed martial arts in a fight against Rafael Abu at a local MMA show. Rafael Dos Anjos was 19 years old at the time, and in his very first match, he was defeated by a split decision. Although it was his inaugural bout, and losing his first match wasn’t exactly a terrible feat, Rafael’s MMA bug struck him hard, and it was evident that he wouldn’t rest until he made a name for himself in the MMA circuit. That was the psychological consequence of his first loss.
Rafael intensified his training and competed in various MMA and Jiu Jitsu competitions, as well as Submission wrestling, earning further accolades in the form of Brazilian National Championships in BJJ and, eventually, a black belt in Jiu Jitsu in 2005, the ultimate aim of every martial artist. The next year, he went worldwide with events in Europe, where he taught young trainees and competed in several BJJ tournaments.
His enormous success in BJJ didn’t deter him from pursuing his goals of becoming a huge name in the MMA world, and he quickly traveled to Rio, where he began training with Gracie Fusion, a well-known MMA organization. Rafael and his crew were able to win several local and national championships as a result of their collaboration. Rafael’s ambitions grew stronger, and he was contacted by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2008, when he arrived in the United States to compete in the world’s most lucrative and popular MMA event.
Career in the UFC
Rafael was knocked out by his opponent in the third round of his maiden UFC 19 fight against Jeremy Stephens. Rafael’s second bout was a lot more intense, and he gave his opponent Tyson Griffin a tough fight. They were both named ‘Fight of the Night’ by the end of the night, but Rafael had to wait for his first UFC victory. Rafael turned the tables in his third UFC fight, defeating Rob Emerson by an anonymous decision in September 2009.
This victory gave him the confidence to go on a winning streak, as if he’d cracked the code to success, and Rafael went on to win two more games in a row after that. Rafael met a barrier in the shape of a fight against Clay Guida in August 2010, in which he was defeated. In the following fights, Rafael faced numerous well-known fighters, winning against Kyle Bradley, Kamal Shalorus, and George Satiropoulus, but losing to Gleison Tibau and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Despite his losses and successes, everyone agreed on one thing: Rafael was steadily developing his technique and establishing himself as 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 in such a clean manner.
Rafael Dos Anjos fought Anthony Pettis for the UFC Lightweight Championship in the spring of 2015, and Rafael won the fight by unanimous decision. He was also named ‘Performance of the Night’ for his title victory. In December 2015, he faced Donald Cerrone in his first championship defense match, and he knocked him out in less than 66 seconds in the first round. This was the quickest victory anyone has ever had in a UFC title battle. He was awarded another ‘Performance of the Night’ award for this display of ferocity and sheer talent.
Rafael lost the championship in a battle against Eddie Alvarez in July 2016, when he was knocked out in the first round. Rafael was the overwhelming favorite in the bout, so this came as a shock. Due to the dramatic weight cuts that he had to go through, further testing revealed that he was not 100 percent fit for the bout. Later in his career, he lost a fight to Tony Ferguson and won a fight against Tarec Saffiedine.
Estimated Net Worth
Rafael dos Anjos is one of the wealthiest MMA fighters and one of the most popular. Rafael dos Anjos net worth is estimated to be at $1.5 million according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.