Sixth-ranked light heavyweight Phil Davis will meet recent title challenger and fourth-ranked Glover Teixeira at UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this coming October, and he’s already out making the rounds in the press to promote the fight. This is a good thing for Davis, as it’s an absolutely critical fight if he ever wants a crack at light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who mocked him after a recent loss to Anthony Johnson put him out of title contention.
Thus, hyping this fight and getting eyeballs on it is the way to go. Worrying about judging, however, is not. In comments to Submission Radio this week, Davis had the following to say about the judging situation in Brazil:
Do I worry about the judges? Absolutely, I worry about the judges. Is it gonna be a fair fight? No, it’s not going to be a fair fight.
The problem here is two-fold. One, Davis has been the recipient of at least one major gift of a decision, against a Brazilian fighter no less, when he was given the nod over Lyoto Machida after their UFC 163 fight a year ago. So really, this can happen to anyone, anywhere. MMA judging has long been under the microscope.
Second, the fact that Davis is worried about the judges at all means he just doesn’t have the right mindset going into this fight. Davis, often accused of point fighting, has as many decision wins as he has stoppages — but many of those stoppage wins came earlier in his career. That has hurt his chances at a title shot as much as anything else, though choking in big fights with Rashad Evans and Johnson hasn’t helped matters.
Davis is a likeable fighter with personality, and it’s easy to forget that he once submitted the man who gave Jon Jones his toughest test to date, Alexander Gustafsson. That just goes to show how long ago that was; time in the MMA world tends to fly by at an accelerated rate, and a number of fighters have leaped past Davis in the rankings over the years, including Gustafsson and Johnson.
Mr. Wonderful needs to refocus and work on finding that killer instinct again. Otherwise, yes, he’ll need to be concerned with the judges — and concerned as to whether he’ll ever get a shot at the light heavyweight title.