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The Unfair UFC Career of Phil Davis

From the moment Phil Davis stepped into the Octagon, he was never given a fair chance.

In the second round of his first UFC fight against Brian Stann, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan compared his skills and physique to Georges St. Pierre. In the third round, with three minutes remaining in the bout, Rogan was already bringing up the possibility of Jon Jones vs. Davis.

That’s right, before Davis had already collected his first victory in the UFC, he was already being linked to the current UFC light heavyweight champion. From that point on, various MMA personalities and media members have always linked him to “Bones” Jones due to their freak athleticism.

It wasn’t good enough for Davis to hit a power double in order to get guys to the ground; he had to suplex them. It wasn’t good enough for Davis to lock on submissions; he had to throw spinning back elbows. It wasn’t good enough for Davis to just win fights; he had to dominate opponents.

Davis and Jones are like #1 overall picks in different draft years. Jones is like LeBron James, the most gifted athlete in the sport today, with the ability to take over the game/fight like no else. Davis is like John Wall, a great athlete in his own right, but hasn’t quite taken the sport by storm the way Jones/James did. On their own, Wall and Davis are outstanding and any team/camp would be lucky to have them. When constantly put in the same sentence as LeBron and Jones though, well, that’s just not fair.

Now Kobe Bryant, better known in MMA circles as Rashad Evans, is coming to town.

Before we look ahead though, lets go back to when Evans and Davis were originally scheduled to meet, which was last August at UFC 133. Davis was so overlooked in that fight, that when he had to pull out with an injury and was replaced by Tito Ortiz, people were actually more excited and thought it would be more competitive. Maybe Ortiz fans were just so caught up in the nostalgia of Tito actually winning his bout against Ryan Bader that they thought he had another miracle in him, but no logical MMA fan could have truly believed that Ortiz stood a better chance than Davis.

As expected, Kobe dominated Mike Bibby.

Fast forward to now. In the build up to Davis vs. Evans, it’s been all about the former UFC light heavyweight champ.

Just look at the UFC on FOX promo. Evans is knocking out Chuck Liddell and Sean Salmon while also landing strikes on Forrest Griffin. Davis is throwing a head kick, which ended up being blocked, and they decided to show that from two different angles. That’s all the highlights they had of Davis? Not his submissions on Alexander Gustafsson or Tim Boetsch? How about his dominance against Stann or his ground and pound on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira? Nope. They just showed him throwing a kick that was blocked.

They had Kobe making game-winning shots and throwing down dunks while Wall was highlighted by taking a charge.

Furthermore, Davis isn’t guaranteed a title shot if he beats Evans on Saturday night, while Evans will get a title shot if he comes out on top. The consensus is that, unless Davis looks spectacular in victory, Dan Henderson will get the next crack at Jones and the 205 strap if Davis’s hand is raised at the end of the night. I guess remaining undefeated while beating a former champion who only has one loss on his record in front of what could be the largest UFC audience ever, isn’t good enough to get a fight that was brought up by one of the announcers 12 minutes into your UFC career.

Unfortunately, despite being brought up in his first fight, Jones vs. Davis isn’t the fight people want to see. LeBron vs. Wall might be the match-up fans are clamoring for in a couple of years, but right now, the people want LeBron vs. Kobe. The people want Jones vs. Evans.

“Mr. Wonderful” never had a chance to succeed in the UFC. If he hasn’t been compared to a fighter than might go down as the greatest light heavyweight ever, he’s been overlooked heading into the biggest fight of his career. He’s never been allowed to stand on his own due to the brilliance of Jones or the anticipation of a bigger fight. Davis can have his one shining moment on FOX. He could beat Evans in impressive fashion, have Goldberg and Rogan going crazy, have Dana White Tweeting nothing but exclamation points, and have fans begging for him to fight Jones.

If that’s going to happen though, Davis will have to put on the most flawless performance of his career in a building built by the flawlessness of Michael Jordan.


  • Screenplaya says:

    I don’t think Davis will beat Suga (but he surely might) and I think I like the low key view being taken, so that his career won’t take a backward step if he does lose. Beating Rashad will definitely put him in line, but I am cool with him moving into place behind Hendo.

    What I find most impressive about Davis is the guys that have instantly decided to move down in weight after being physically dominated by Davis. Boetsch and Stann are no joke, but they immediately dialed Jenny Craig after fighting Davis.

    Phil’s time will come. Either as soon as this summer, or not long thereafter.

  • climbarock says:

    Nice article. Davis for the upset!

  • MCM says:

    I see your point, but I’ll disagree a little. Yes Davis is winning but he’s not doing it impressively. I know, winning is winning, but tell that to Jon Fitch or GSP. I don’t know anything about Basketball so lets just look at his MMA career and compare it to others in his division.
    If he gets by Rashad, it will be far and away his biggest win. Lil’ Nog was a good win, but Davis didn’t look good in winning. In fact, he looked horrible in the first round when he couldn’t get the takedown. Gustafsson was a good win, and maybe his most impressive finish, but Alexander on the other hand, has finished 12 of his 14 opponents and has finished the likes of Hamill and Vlady. Where as Davis has gone the distance with 3 of his 5 UFC opponents.
    Jones beat Bonnar, Hamill, Vera, Vlady, and Bader before he got a shot at the title, and only the Bonnar fight went the distance.
    I think Davis is a great prospect, but he hasn’t done enough in the division to earn a shot IMO. If he gets by Rashad, even if it’s unimpressive, he’ll only be one fight away from a shot, but right now, he’s just a good fighter that is working his way into the top 10.

  • danw84 says:

    But I don’t even like basketball.

  • Neither do I really, but the way the similarities were drawn was great! Except for that Bibby comparison to Tito….Bibby’s a hell of a guy, Tito’s a dick.


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