Phil Davis Leaves UFC for Bellator
The battle for talent between the UFC and Bellator continues.
After the UFC wooed back former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson back to its fold from its chief rival Bellator Promotions, the latter returned the favor by signing Top 10 UFC light heavyweight Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis to an exclusive multi-fight contract.
The Spike TV-televised promotion announced the signing via social media last Wednesday, going to Twitter to say that “It’s a Wonderful day at Bellator MMA”, alluding to Davis’ monicker “Mr. Wonderful”. Terms of the deal and Davis’ debut date and opponent were not mentioned in the tweet.
A Top Prospect
Davis was one of the UFC’s top prospects and was ranked #7 in most Light Heavyweight MMA rankings. The 30-year old fighter compiled a 9-3 (with two knockouts, four submissions and one no decision) record in the UFC since joining the promotion 2010 after only four professional MMA bouts. Davis won his first five UFC bouts which included a submission win over former #1 contender Alexander Gustafsson. He lost a title eliminator bout to Rashad Evans in 2012.
Davis also holds notable wins over former champion Lyoto Machida, Antonio Rogerio Noguiera, Brian Stann, Tim Boetsch and recent title challenger Glover Texeira. Unfortunately the win over Texeira was sandwiched in between a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and a close split decision loss to Ryan Bader. The fight against Bader last January 24th at the undercard of UFC on Fox 14 became his last appearance in the UFC Octagon. Davis had one of the best wrestling backgrounds ever as he won an NCAA Division I wrestling title in 2008 for Penn State. He finished his decorated collegiate career as a four time All-American.
The fight against Bader was the last in his contract with the UFC. But instead of re-negotiating with Zuffa led promotion, the new free agent Davis took his talents to Bellator MMA. And while the UFC had the right to match the offer, they decided to decline that option and let Davis jump to the opposite side of the fence.
Bellator President Scott Coker said that his promotion is committed to bringing the best fighters out there and that Davis represents one of the best light heavyweight in the game today. He added that they have some “amazing matchups” in store for Mr. Wonderful and that they will be announcing these in the coming weeks.
Without saying it, word in the circles is that Bellator might field in Davis as the next title challenger to undefeated Bellator light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary who is coming off a successful title defense over Emmanuel Newton earlier this year. Should that fight happen, it would truly be a wonderful opportunity for Phil Davis.
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