by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Second chances are rare in life, rare for every day people and even rarer so for fighters. So when a fighter gets one of those unique opportunities to rebuild their career, you know they’re going to do everything in their power to make sure things go right the second time around. Such is the case of Dennis “The Piranha” Davis.
At one time Dennis was one of Team Quest’s premier young athletes. A lightweight possessing speed, agility and one of the best ground games in the Northwest, Davis seemed a lock to eventually make his way to the biggest stages in MMA, but it didn’t happen.
After relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada from Quest’s Oregon base, Dennis became involved in the Vegas nightlight and over the course of a couple years his once promising career seemed to fall apart right before his eyes.
Following a move to Utah with former The Ultimate Fighter cast members Josh Burkman and Melvin Guillard things seemed to be righting themselves for Davis, until bigger opportunities elsewhere split the team up.
Upon receiving an invitation to try out for the latest installment of TUF, Dennis relocated back up to Oregon, only to miss the cut and not be cast on the reality series.
In need of a change of location and a steady training situation, Davis would get a call from an old friend, current UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture, and now a couple months later, Dennis is ready for his second shot at stardom.
During final preparations for his scheduled bout against Luke Caudillo at this Saturday’s Ring of Fire 29 event at the Broomfield Event Center in Colorado, Davis spoke to MMAWeekly about his new team, his fight, and the cautionary tale that’s lead him to this point.
MMAWeekly: First off Dennis, the last time we spoke to you, you were in Utah training with Josh and Melvin. How did you end up where you are now, Xtreme Couture Gym, from there?
Dennis Davis: Basically, when I was in Salt Lake our fight team fell apart and I had no one to train with. It was me and a couple amateur guys. I lost that fight [to Nate Diaz] and I was like, “Man, I’ve got to get with a really good team.” So I put all my stuff in storage and went up to Oregon for a month or so and Randy called me. He told me about the gym down in Vegas and that’s about all he had to say to me. I packed up, came back down and started training here 6 weeks ago.
MMAWeekly: How do you like it there at Xtreme Couture?
Dennis Davis: It’s awesome, I could not be happier. We have some of the top guys in the world training five, six times a week, and then we get top guys that show up out of the blue wanting to train. So you get a lot of different looks from different guys.
MMAWeekly: Do you think you’ll return to your once dominant form now that you’re in a stable situation for the first time since initially leaving Team Quest a couple years ago?
Dennis Davis: I think so. I think the biggest problem when I first came down to Vegas was, I didn’t have a fight team, nobody to really train with, living with Ricco [Rodriguez] and basically got caught up in the party scene. I hardly ever trained for my fights because I was partying all the way up until a fight. This time I think is going to be a whole lot different because I’m a whole lot more focused.
I’ve already done the party scene, and I see guys like [Chris] Leben, [Ed] Herman and Burkman, that I used to coach, all fighting up in the big show, and here I am in the smaller shows. The only difference was, I screwed off for two years and wasn’t taking it serious, and they did. I’m a little more grown up now and all I want to do is fight and win. It’s going to be great with all the guys pushing me. It’s got that same Quest-feel to it, so I’m just going to train and become better.
MMAWeekly: For your next fight you’ll be returning to Colorado, where you created a lot of buzz after your ACF performance. What do you think about heading back up there, this time for Ring of Fire, to fight?
Dennis Davis: I think it’s going to be great. I’m fighting one of their tough guys. The first time I was up there I had a good team and obviously it showed, [because] I smashed the first two guys I fought in 30 seconds after moving to Utah. So I can’t wait to get back up there and show them what I bring, the excitement I’m known for.
MMAWeekly: You’re scheduled to face Luke Caudillo, what are you expecting to happen in this fight?
Dennis Davis: Basically he’s one of their tougher guys up there. I hear he’s super aggressive, comes out winging punches and has pretty good wrestling, so I think the fight should be pretty good. A lot of times I like to come out, be super aggressive and wing punches. So, I’m sure we’ll probably meet somewhere in the middle and show the fans what they like to see – two guys going at it. My hands feel probably as good as they’ve ever felt, so I don’t mind sitting there, throwing down and making it exciting. So it should be a great fight.
MMAWeekly: After this fight, do you see yourself staying at 155lbs or possibly moving down to 145lbs to challenge in that suddenly booming weight class?
Dennis Davis: Actually there’s been talk of that. Talk of doing this fight at 155 and maybe dropping down to 145. I think if I go down to 145, I’d be a beast. There’s a few guys out there that I wouldn’t mind fighting at 145. With the WEC having the 145 and actually giving us lighter fighters good money to fight; I’d love to fight in the WEC at the 145lb weight class.
MMAWeekly: What kind of work rate are you hoping of having throughout the remainder of the year?
Dennis Davis: I want it to be a lot. As soon as this fight’s over I’m going to try to get a fight in May. My manager has been talking to different promotions about fighting in May or June. I want to fight every month if I could, every month-and-a-half or two months. I want to stay really active.
One of my problems the last couple years was I’d have a fight then get out of shape, screw around and not have anything in front of me to really train [for]. So, I’d like to have something in front of me to keep me in shape, rack up a lot of wins, because if I come in and I’m in shape, I’m going to be very hard to beat.
MMAWeekly: It was great catching up again with you Dennis, is there anything you want to say before we close out the interview?
Dennis Davis: I want everyone to come out to check out my fight in Ring of Fire. Like most of my fights it’s probably going to be the most exciting on the card. I also want to thank Renegade Fight Gear, Jason Winters Vitamins & Supplements, Denaro Sports Marketing, and MMAWeekly for helping get my name out there.
Also, anyone in the Las Vegas area come check out Xtreme Couture. We’ve got 10-15 of the top guys in there five-to-six days a week. So either if you want to train with the best, or come see the guys you see on TV [in person], check out the Xtreme Couture Gym.