Bellator MMA dropped a Tax Day surprise on mixed martial arts fans on Wednesday, announcing that it had signed Top-10-ranked UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis to a multi-fight contract.
Davis (13-3, 1 NC) fought the last fight of his UFC contract in a losing effort to Ryan Bader at UFC on FOX 14 in January. After a strong 12-1 start to his career, the loss to Bader was the second in Davis’ last three fights for the UFC, leading to recent rumors that he was negotiating with Bellator.
“I can’t wait to be fighting in Bellator and wreck shop on everyone,” said Davis upon the news of his new deal. “I am the absolute best and most dominant grappler to ever fight in MMA and I’m excited to get in there and compete at my new home.”
Despite losing two of his three most recent bouts, Davis has an impressive list of victories on his resume. He has defeated the likes of former UFC champion Lyoto Machida, UFC title contenders Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira, and former WEC champion Brian Stann.
For their part, Bellator officials are happy to have been able to sign the 205-pound standout.
“Phil is a world class mixed martial artist and we are very happy to be adding him to our roster of some of the best light heavyweights in the world,” said the Bellator president Scott Coker. “Bellator remains fully committed to building its world-class roster by signing top free agents like Davis, as well as grooming up-and-coming stars. We’ve got some amazing match-ups in mind for ‘Mr. Wonderful’ that we will be announcing in the weeks to come.”
Champion Liam McGeary currently reigns over Bellator’s light heavyweight division, which also includes UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, “King Mo” Lawal, Emanuel Newton, and Linton Vassell. Depending upon the outcome of a court case arguing his contractual status, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson could also be among Bellator’s 205-pound roster.