The last time Phil Davis stepped inside the UFC Octagon things ended in a rather anti-climatic fashion.
Just 1:28 into the first round, an accidental eye poke to his opponent, Wagner Prado, brought the end of the fight and the bout was ruled a no contest.
For Davis it was almost like he had gone through an entire training camp without actually getting any kind of result, but he’ll now do it all over again this Saturday at UFC 153 when he faces Prado for a second time.
When the first fight ended under those circumstances, a rematch seemed likely, but Davis says it really didn’t matter to him. The UFC lines up the opponents, and he knocks them down.
“Did I want to go back and fight Wagner and get the ‘W’? Sure. But I really don’t care. At the end of the day, I’m about winning fights and getting to the belt. I don’t really care about faces and names,” Davis told MMAWeekly Radio.
To keep winning, Davis will travel from his home base in San Diego all the way to Brazil where he faces Prado on his home turf.
Some fighters shy away from traveling to an opponent’s hometown or home country for a fight. The crowd is obviously going to be very one-sided, and it can be a tough spot to be in when it seems like the whole country is against you.
Fortunately, Phil Davis has gone through all of this before.
Prior to his career as a top light heavyweight in the UFC, Davis was a college wrestler at Penn State University, and like any college sport, the rivalries can get pretty intense, and stepping into an opponent’s home gym is no easy task.
Take for instance when Davis traveled to Oklahome State University in December 2007 for a meet. The two programs were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country, and it didn’t take long for Davis to realize he was not a welcome guest at the Oklahoma State gym.
“They had an ice storm, so it turns out only half of their normal crowd made it, and thank God, so as we come into the gym they had these little noise makers and it was like thundering. You couldn’t really hear too much of anything. There was no coaching going on during this match because you couldn’t hear five feet from the other person. You just gave up and did hand gestures because you couldn’t hear,” Davis described.
The noise and crowd didn’t play a factor, however, because Penn State went on to win the match, and Davis admits he was fueled by the venomous crowd.
“I get up for that; I enjoy feeling that energy in the arena,” said Davis.
This time around, Davis will enter as the “away team” to face Wagner Prado on his home turf in Brazil, and it doesn’t bother him one bit that the crowd won’t be on his side.
In the world of MMA, you may not meet a guy with a bigger smile or friendlier attitude than Phil Davis, but every once in a while, he likes to be the bad guy. Fighting a Brazilian in Brazil, well then, he has no choice.
“When you’re on somebody else’s home turf, whether you want to or not, you become the bad guy. There’s no good guys at an away meet. You’re the bad guy. So you just get to go out and show up and if you’re flashy, you’re flashy. Nobody says, ‘oh, he’s being flashy.’ No, he’s an away guy, he sucks either way,” said Davis.
“You get to go out, be mean; I love that.”