Phil Davis Has No Interest In Machida Rematch
“I have 12 wins; 11 wins- all those guys want rematches. [Lyoto Machida is] not the first person who wants a rematch,” Phil Davis, pictured, explained of his recent opponent, Lyoto Machida, to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour Monday.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
It was the most controversial decision of late, when UFC light heavyweight fighter Phil Davis scored a unanimous decision victory over Lyoto Machida on August 3. UFC President Dana White, broadcaster Brian Stann and much of the media covering the fights believed Machida had the fight won, 30-27. The judges, all three of them, saw it 29-28 in favor of Davis.
On Monday, Davis appeared on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani where he dispelled all talk of a rematch between the two fighters. Despite the clamor amongst fans and spectators, Davis sees his win as a legitimate victory moving him closer to a title shot.
“I have 12 wins,” Davis explained, “11 [of those] wins, all those guys want rematches. You’re not the first person who wants a rematch. You fight every fight like this. You fight close fights. Name one fight that he didn’t finish where he beat the crap out of somebody.
“You live by that sword, you die by that sword. When you habitually leave it to the judges, that strategy will fail you. I can’t say it any other way.”
Davis did go back and watch the fight. He said that, despite the commentary and what all the fans have said about the fight, he believes he won the first two rounds.
“The first was pretty even. The first round is almost always a hard round to score. There’s not a lot of momentum. A lot of times people are feeling each other out. Machida has this style where he’ll wait until the last minute-and-a-half of the round, explode with a flurry, evade, evade, not for the rest of the time, but pretty much. If you get taken down in that minute-and-a-half time frame, you’re screwed. So he lost that round. To say takedowns shouldn’t decide a round, well, then one flurry shouldn’t win the round.”
Machida did indeed throw his one flurry in the first round before Davis was able to secure the takedown, but Davis was quick to dismiss the effectiveness of his opponent’s attack.
“I think one punch actually landed. The knee missed me entirely. It wasn’t close. In retrospect, it was too close for comfort. If that hits you, you’d have been in big trouble, but he didn’t come close to connecting. It’s one of those things that if you see it on TV, you think it hit; but if you watch it at cage-side or on replay, he actually hit the knee against the fence, and that probably sucked.”
After watching the replay of the fights, Davis conceded that Brian Stann, who commentated the fights, was a bit biased in his analysis. Davis was quick to praise Stann, however.
“When I went back and watched the fight, I did think it was a little biased. I was watching the telecast in the back the entire night. I thought he did an awesome job, and I think he did a good job in my fight. His job is no easier than mine.”
One thing from the fight is clear. Davis’ wrestling was a major factor in his victory. The former NCAA champion from Penn State scored two takedowns in ten attempts, both of which seemed to have won him the first and second rounds. Of course, there are many who felt that the low success rate should have gone to Machida’s advantage, given his successful takedown defense. To this, Davis had plenty to say.
“If you have a guy like Lyoto Machida, who keeps an extra-long range, who has great kicks and his kicks allow him ot keep a great range and strike from the outside, and he’s a counter-striker; in order to close the distance to take him down, you have to jump through hops and make this happen. He’s able to, from that distance, evade a lot of takedowns. So to say he’s got the best takedown defense in the light heavyweight division, you are inaccurately reporting on what’s going on. Now let me say, he has great, fast hips. He’s not easy to take down by any stretch of the imagination.
<“Let me explain… the mentality of a guy with my wrestling background, when you go for a takedown, it’s not always to get a takedown. A lot of times it’s to establish dominance.
“That’s one of the reasons Machida keeps his range, if you’re forcing the takedown. I’m the one in control of the center. The judges see, in wrestling if one person takes three shots in a row, the other guy is stalling. If I take a shot and he took no shots, he didn’t do anything. Nobody in wrestling keeps the stats of how many shots you take. It’s how many takedowns you get and who is in control. If you have two, the stat is it was 2-0.”
Whatever the mentality may be, the scorebook will always show Davis winning the bout against Machida. That puts him in a position to fight his way to a title in the near future. The UFC places him as the 4th contender for the light heavyweight title, two spots behind the man he just beat. As it stands, Jon Jones will be facing Alexander Gustafsson on September 21. Next in line could be Glover Teixeira, if he gets an impressive win over Ryan Bader, or Daniel Cormier, if he beats Roy Nelson at UFC 166.
Where exactly that leaves Davis remains to be seen.