“A lot of guys would have called it and he didn’t, he was right and stuck with it and at 42 became champion.”
Phil Davis has been around the block when it comes to testing himself against the world’s best 205-pound Light Heavyweight competitors. Fresh off a win over the ageless Yoel Romero, it wasn’t the first seasoned opponent of Davis’ that went on to have success down the stretch.
In Oct. 2014 at UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Davis picked up his last Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) victory when meeting Glover Teixeira in the co-main event. The phenomenal wrestler in “Mr. Wonderful” managed to impose his grappling prowess en route to a unanimous decision.
Seven years later and the now 42-year-old Teixeira is still going strong and became the UFC champion when submitting Jan Blachowicz his last time out at UFC 267 in Oct. 2021 (watch highlights).
“Oh, man. Good on him. I’m proud of the dude,” Davis told MMAMania.com. “A lot of guys would have called it and he didn’t, he was right and stuck with it and at 42 became champion. I’m just proud of the guy. Both as a competitor and a fan of Glover Teixeira.”
Davis, 37, hit the 30 mark in terms of fights had when defeating Romero at Bellator 266 last September. Since 2010, he’s fought exclusively for the UFC and Bellator gaining the latter’s crown along the way and being a perennial elite in the division.
Despite all his time in combat sports dating back to his collegiate wrestling days at Penn State, “Mr. Wonderful” is just going with the flow right now and not thinking about retirement. He’ll let his body tell him when he’s done as it’s important to stay cautious and preserve overall health.
Admitting that it’s definitely cool to see what the likes of Teixeira and Romero can do in their more experienced ages, Davis isn’t quite sure it will be the same path for him.
“Don’t take this the wrong way… no,” Davis responded regarding Teixeira’s win being inspiring. “It makes me feel good that he does it, that he can do it. When I see Yoel Romero fighting Izzy (Israel Adesanya) and fighting a great fight, one of the best talents in the world, at 42, 43… is that great? Yes, that’s great! Is it inspiring? Inspiring like maybe I can still fight at 42? No! It’s not that (laughs). It inspires me to appreciate them but not so much the; ‘You could do that, too!’ No (laughs).
“I 100 percent appreciate those guys because there’s no doubt they faced injuries, they faced training issues, just plain ol’ being old, and they’re kicking butt. So no, it’s all inspiring but I don’t know if it inspires me to be like, ‘Yeah, maybe I can.’”
Next on deck for the former Bellator champion will be the most recent challenger to the throne, Lithuania’s Julius Anglickas. The pair is set to occupy the co-main event slot next weekend at Bellator 276 on Mar. 12 in St. Louis, Mo. A win for “Mr. Wonderful” would make him 5-1 in his last six (24-6 overall) with the only loss in his rematch with current champion Vadim Nemkov.
“What I like about this matchup is that a lot of times, guys will second guess themselves and be more gun-shy when they’re a tactician and try to steal just enough of the round,” Davis said. “But when you deal with young hungry guys, they’re all in like, ‘F this guy, I’m gonna show this guy what’s up.’ And he’s at this point in his career where he’s in that camp. He’s gonna try to show me what’s up. He’s not gonna let me squeak out a round, he’s gonna come at me full throttle.
“In my experience, that attitude works out either 100 percent or it 100 percent does not (laughs). It’s truly a maturity thing. It’s a time-in-the-game kind of thing. So that’s kind of the matchup I’m preparing for.”
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Author: Drake Riggs