by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
For Dennis “The Piranha” Davis this coming Saturday’s IFO show represents an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of a hometown crowd in Las Vegas and hopefully begin to build a stable long-term situation for himself in a promotion after years of transversing both shows and gyms.
After starting out with Team Quest, Davis was lured away to Vegas by a friend only to find himself caught in a pattern of late nights and poor training. A move to Utah, following yet another friend ended up in less extracurricular activities, more training, but still not quite up to par as he had before.
So, when former Team Quest teammate Randy Couture got in contact with Dennis, it was decided that Davis would best be served returning to Vegas, this time to Randy’s new Xtreme Couture Gym. Now, fully settled and at a new weight class, Dennis has found himself on a two-fight winning streak, with hopefully a third win in a row coming this Saturday for Richard Steele’s new promotion.
“I think it’s great,” exclaimed Davis of his upcoming opportunity. “I’ve always wanted to fight in Vegas and the Steele Cage guys have been great to me so far, super professional and paying me well.
“Vegas is the Mecca of MMA, so now I’ll get to do that and showcase my skills in front of a lot of fans from all over who maybe haven’t had a chance to see me fight. So, I can’t wait to get in there and show them what I’m about,” added Dennis.
Davis’ excitement is not only confined to his chance to fight in a new promotion, but a move down in weight has also led to rejuvenation in his enthusiasm.
“Basically, I moved down to 145 pounds,” commented Dennis. “My last loss [at 155 pounds] was to Luke Caudillo, who outweighed me by 20 pounds come fight time. At this level it’s hard to deal with that much weight.”
Davis continued, “So, my manager, Robert Roveta at Denaro [Sports Marketing], he’s like, ‘Hey man, if you move down to 145 you’ll be the big guy, or at least fighting guys your size.’ Career-wise it is a better weight class [for me], so he talked me into it and I moved down.”
And in Davis’ first fight at the weight, things couldn’t have gone better.
“Making weight was a piece of cake and fought my first pro fight at 145 about a week and a half ago against a kid named Will Shutt,” said Davis. “He’s actually Enoch Wilson’s brother, and I went in there and it went pretty much how we thought, I manhandled him.”
“I felt so strong; it felt like wrestling a kid, after fighting big guys. So I think anybody at 145 should be a whole lot easier than what I’m used to,” further stated Dennis.
Dennis will get the opportunity to further test that hypothesis this coming Saturday at the Riviera Casino against Matt Williams in one of the evening’s feature bouts.
“Coming from the Miletich camp, he’s going to be tough and from his record he’s got wins by TKO and submission, so it’s hard to pick [what he’s best at],” said Davis of his opponent. “Coming from a high level, pretty good team, he’s probably going to be well-rounded, so it’s hard to come out with a specific game plan, but I’ve got a couple of things.”
Dennis continued, “Training with Randy as long as I have, my clinch game, ground and pound, and even my submission game is some of the best out there. Anywhere it goes, I’m comfortable, especially at 145, and I think in the clinch I should smash the guy.”
As Davis alluded to, working with Randy Couture and the top-caliber talent at Xtreme Couture has rejuvenated him and it has given him the stability to make the most of the potential he’s showcased in the past.
“My losses have come when I was screwing around, partying a bit and not taking it serious,” explained Davis. “But now, training at Xtreme Couture, my cardio is off the roof and I’m really going to be able to push the pace and just break somebody – push him and push him until he breaks – and the fight will be mine.”
“[Team Quest Head Trainer] Robert Follis is a great coach and I was always used to having him around; so when I left, I didn’t have him anymore and my game suffered because of that. The gym we have is incredible – the level of guys is crazy. We have all these high level guys beating the crap out of me and pushing me, so I’ve got a lot of guys backing me up,” added Dennis.
Not only has Couture’s influence been substantial to Davis’ fighting career, it’s also been so in his private life as well.
“Nobody’s better than Randy,” proclaimed Dennis. “That guy will come in and out-cardio anyone in the gym, he’s amazing. I’ve picked up so much from him, not only as a fighter, but as to how to be a man.”
Davis further commented, “There’s nobody better to have in your corner and help you grow as a person than Randy. The guy’s amazing on and off the mat.”
Dennis knows that a lot is riding on the opportunity he has on Saturday, and should he capitalize on it, he’s looking forward to a watershed remainder of 2007.
“I know Steele Cage has offered me a title shot in December, so it depends on if I win,” said Davis. “Obviously I’d also love to fight in the UFC or the WEC. Right now with the way I’m training I could fight at 145 and 155 at short notice if they need me to come up.”
“I’m in shape and could make either weight easy, and even at 155 I think I could hang with anybody. The WEC has the 145 weight class, and I’d love to get in there and fight for them and let people see what I’m about and hopefully get to fight one of the top level guys like Jeff Curran or Urijah Faber,” added Dennis.
So this coming Saturday when Davis and Matt Williams lock horns in the 145-pound weight class it could be one of the breakout fights of the night, especially if Dennis has any say in it.
“I’d like to thank my sponsors: Broken Leash Clothing here in Las Vegas; Jason Winters Vitamins and Supplements; and Renegade Fight Gear who have been great and helped me out so much; and Robert Roveta and Denaro Sports Marketing for getting me all those sponsors,” said Davis. “I want everyone to come out, check out the show at the Riviera on September 1st.”
Davis concluded, “It’s Steele Cage Promotions’ IFO, get your tickets, and come see the fireworks – I’m going to go out and put on a show for the fans. I’m going to keep winning and if I keep winning – they can’t deny me.”