by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Following an 11-fight win streak, Marcus Davis suffered his first loss in almost three years in his last bout against Mike Swick, but after two surgeries and an amazing training camp, he is back for the attack getting ready for Paul Kelly on Saturday night at UFC 89 in England.
The fight with Swick was supposed to be Davis’ toughest test to date, but while he would never talk about it before or immediately after the fight, he was fighting with a bum shoulder that kept him down for much of the match.
After the fight with Swick was over, Davis decided to get some things fixed. First he had shoulder surgery to repair tears and then also went forward with plastic surgery to help repair scar damage he had endured from his many years of fighting.
According to Davis, doctors were able to file down bones to smooth them out to prevent cuts while also imputing collagen pads that will eventually dissolve and help make his skin thicker.
He is now back in his main fight training camp at Team Sityodtong in Boston working alongside head trainer Mark DellaGrotte and a host of top training partners like Kenny Florian, Patrick Cote, Din Thomas, Nate Quarry, and Kurt Pellegrino.
“I’m training with people that are much better than the kid I’m fighting with to begin with,” Davis commented during a recent appearance on MMAWeekly Radio. “I’ve got the best coach in the business, he can’t have a better coach.”
His confidence in his training camp also goes to strength and conditioning coach Kevin Kearns, who also works with Kenny Florian, to help keep Davis on pace for this fight. Davis disclosed that he has been able to keep his weight down much better for this fight, saying that 2 weeks out from the fight against Mike Swick he was walking around at 195 pounds, and at 2 weeks before Saturday’s fight with Paul Kelly, he was down to 177 pounds.
The help doesn’t stop there as Davis has also been working with wrestling prodigy Muzzafar “The Moose” Abdurakmanov, who he credits his ability to deal with Kelly’s ground prowess and clinch in this fight.
“The only choice this kid’s going to have is to try to clinch with me,” Davis stated. “So if he’s not able to, reaching and stuff, he’s going to get caught with punches, kind of similar as when Rashad (Evans) kept running from Chuck (Liddell) and Chuck started getting desperate and reaching to hit Rashad and Rashad caught him.”
He also explains that even if Kelly is able to get him down, now having the full use of both of his arms will make the biggest difference in this fight.
“I am fighting a guy a lot of people are thinking shouldn’t be in there with me, but at the same time there are those people that are also saying because of his last performance this is definitely a winnable fight for Paul Kelly because he can take him down and hold him down like Mike Swick did,” Davis said. “People don’t understand that I couldn’t get back up, there was nothing I could do, I couldn’t put any weight on that shoulder.
“Worst case scenario, he takes me down and I stand up, or he takes me down and I submit him. But I don’t even think he’s going to be able to take me down. I don’t think I’m going to end up on my back. He’s going to be surprised when he clinches with me when I start throwing like belly to belly’s with him, he’s going to be surprised.”
The Maine-based fighter also commented that he has studied other fighters such as Lyoto Machida, to help build his technique going into this match-up.
Of course, Davis is confident in his ability to beat Paul Kelly and he has extra motivation this time around as the UFC has already announced a January event to take place in Dublin, Ireland, and the “Irish Hand Grenade” already let the promotion know he wants to be on the UFC 93 card.
He also intimated that if both he and Chris Lytle are successful at UFC 89 that he would love the chance to fight another former boxing pro.
“We’ve both been like, ‘I respect you, respect what you do, but a fight between each other is money in the bank,'” Davis commented on a fight with Lytle. “I basically said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it and the first guy to take the other guy down is a p****y.’
“Let’s just stand up and kick the living (expletive) out of each other.”
Davis also mentioned that he would like the chance to welcome Martin Kampmann to 170 pounds, but for now his focus is solely on Paul Kelly and his excitement for the bout is boiling over.
“I’m just so happy to be fighting and be back over there again, to be able to perform,” said Davis. “This has been for me the best camp I’ve ever had. When everything goes this well and everything’s been just the way I want it, it’s kind of like a euphoric feeling. I’m just so excited to get in there and fight.”