I recently had the chance to speak with standout UFC Light Heavyweight Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis. We talked about his NCAA Division 1 wrestling background and his recent win over Glover Teixeira at UFC 179 in Brazil where he called out Anderson Silva. Phil also talks predictions on the Anderson Silva-Nick Diaz and Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier fights.
You’re a standout wrestler, talk about how you got involved with wrestling
I come from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is right in the city and where wrestling isn’t really popular. My friend at the time basically just asked me to accompany him to wrestling practice because he was doing a try out. This was way back when I was in seventh grade. So, I said “sure” and at the time I had no idea about anything regarding the sport and I would go along with him and watch. I went to practice, I sat down and the coach said “you can’t sit and watch, you have to participate”. So, I started wrestling in my street clothes and it was awful! I hated it! When I got home, I told my parents all about it and they thought “OK, well, sounds like a pretty stupid sport but just finish the week and then you can quit the team”.
Only I can tell a story about attempting to quit something and forgetting to do so because come Monday I was still wrestling.
You wrestled all throughout college, how did the progression go from being a NCAA division-1 wrestler to transforming into an MMA fighter?
It’s weird exactly because I just decided one day that I’m going to be a MMA fighter and that was it. I just began training and went from there.
Phil Davis suplexing Tim Boetsch
Was it a decision you made right after you got out of college?
I was still in college and taking classes when I decided. It was actually right after I won the NCAA title and I had begun to start taking striking classes and ju-jitsu but it was when I was in college and doing my mid-terms and finals.
You are coming off of a great win against Glover Teixeira in Brazil recently and you made some news because you called out Anderson Silva in the post-fight interview. There are a couple of different guys right now like Anderson Silva and Jon Jones who everyone wants to see you face, do you have a preference at this point on who you would go up against?
Absolutely not! As long as it’s a “good guy” then I’m perfectly fine because at this point, where I’m at, I’m perfectly fine taking care of a guy that isn’t “top five” material too. However, I would just prefer it to be a “top five” guy.
Phil Davis post fight interview with Brian Stann at UFC 179
There was a lot of talk leading up into your fight with Anthony Johnson, with you and Jon Jones, can you talk about why you particularly don’t care for Jon Jones?
*laughs* I mean, I could talk about it all day, if that’s what you want me to do. You know, he’s just a certain kind of guy; it’s hard to explain really. He’s just a certain kind of guy and you either love him or you don’t and I have the pleasure of not.
Now, there are a couple of big fights coming up next year and both with implications of the two people we just talked about. What is your prediction on the Anderson Silva-Nick Diaz fight?
Well, I suppose I would have to say Anderson Silva because he is a bigger guy in the match-up and he’s also more experienced with the better skill-set. Now, having said that, there are so many drawbacks in picking Anderson Silva because he’s older, he’s been on a bad string of fights, which don’t get me wrong, happens to everyone, I just got back in the win column myself. I don’t want to say Anderson is washed up because that’s absolutely not the case but for a guy like him to be on a two fight slide is going to be hard to bounce back from. I don’t think it’s impossible but it’s going to be hard to bounce back from that. Silva is also getting to that certain age where your body is everything and sometimes you feel like you can win a fight even when you aren’t at one hundred percent and he needs to be closer to that one hundred percent the older he gets. There are so many factors that go into it but it should be Anderson Silva but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it wasn’t.
Do you think it’s going to be a good fight?
I think it’s going to be an awesome fight but I couldn’t tell you if it’s going to be a five round fight or a thirty second one. I just can’t gauge it.
The other big fight coming up is going to be against Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones, what do you see happening in that fight?
I gotta be honest, I see the champion getting beat there. Daniel Cormier is a beast and I see the champ getting all beat up.
What do you think of getting into a fight with someone like Daniel Cormier?
I don’t think I would want to. Daniel is somebody that I train with and I’m helping him get ready for Jon Jones, so it’s not something that I’m particularly entertaining at this time.
When you train with Daniel do you think that there is no way that Jon Jones can overcome those kind of odds?
Oh I would say no way! I see it as it being that this is the fight that Jon Jones was hoping he did not get, and he did! Jon thought Alex Gustafsson was bad? He was wrong.
How were you feeling in your fight with Glover Teixeira, were you one hundred percent going into that fight?
I was closer to one hundred percent in that fight then I was against Anthony Johnson.
Yeah, that’s something else that I wanted to ask, I saw the fight you had with Anthony Johnson a few times, what was going on there, were you just just not feeling it that night and was it one of those rare off nights?
Well, I don’t like to make a lot of excuses because when guys make excuses, I call them losers. Long story short, anytime I’m in the Octagon, I expect to win. I expected to win that night and I didn’t but having said that, there are some reasons that went into why I didn’t perform as well I was would have liked to.
Definitely, I understand that. Now, you came off that great fight in Brazil and it seems like you decimate any of these Brazilian fighters that you go against, is there anybody aside from Anderson Silva that you would like to face in the future?
Let me ask you a question. Who is left!
*Laughs* I don’t think there’s many people left. I think you would have to go up to the heavyweight division to fight more Brazilian fighters.
Yeah, that’s right!
What do you do in your downtime when you aren’t fighting and when do you think we’ll know when your next fight is coming up?
You know, I don’t do much man, I play a little golf and I like to read but I’m mostly training. It’s usually eat, sleep, rinse, wash, repeat. In regards to my next fight? Well, my guess would be sometime within the next four months. However, it all kind of depends on how everything shakes up in the division.
Is there anybody that you think you may be taking on before you get that Anderson Silva or Jon Jones fight?
I would take anybody but truthfully who would they give me is the better question.
Interview conducted by Mike Nagel