26-year old rising light heavyweight prospect Phil Davis will engage in the biggest fight of his career so far this Saturday night when he takes on Pride FC veteran Antonio “Rogerio” Nogueira i the main event of Ulitmate Fight Night 24. “Mr. Wonderful,” who stepped in to face Nogueira after the Brazilian’s original opponent, Tito Ortiz, was forced out of the bout with a cut, is hoping that he will rise to the occasion against “Minotoro” and prove that he belongs at the top of the UFC light heavyweight division.
“It’s exciting to know that it would put me in the mix with some bigger-name guys,” Davis said during a recent appearance on MMAJunkie.com Radio of a win over “Little Nog.” “Hopefully that’s where I belong.”
Training out of Alliance MMA under Lloyd Irvin in San Diego, California, Davis has actually shared the mat with Nogueira before, as the smaller half of the fighting Nogueira brothers frequently trains in California and with the crew at Alliance.
“It was a while ago,” Davis said of training with Nogueira. “I trained with ‘Big Nog’ a few times. I only got a chance to train with Rogerio maybe once or twice, which is neither here nor there. It sucks because in the MMA community it’s so small that if you want to excel, you have to train with good people. But, it’s also so small that you’ll probably see those people later.”
At 26-years old, Davis will make up for what he lacks in experience with explosiveness, creativity and hunger. “Mr. Wonderful” has been able to employ his world-class wrestling to help dismantle all of his opponents so far, but his striking has shown great improvement each time that he steps in the cage. Exactly how intends to use those skills to defeat Nogueira–a solid boxer and lauded grappler–is something he is currently keeping close to his chest.
“I told you guys I’m crazy. You never know what crazy people are going to do. You don’t,” said Davis of his gameplan. “You know they’re going to be crazy. That’s all you know. All you know about crazy people is you can expect not to know what they’re going to do.”
Davis and Nogueira square off at the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington this Saturday night and will be supported in the co-main event by welterweights Dan Hardy and Anthony Johnson.