In a strange way the knee injury keeping Phil Davis on the sidelines for nearly a year may have actually made the 9-0 light heavyweight a better fighter. Though “Mr. Wonderful” was on a tear before going out, picking up four wins in 2010 and a fifth in March 2011, the time off also gave him a chance to work out some holes in his game rather than having to intently focus on preparing for an opponent.
“When you fight four or five times in a year, you don’t really have time to get better,” said Davis in an interview with the UFC’s website. “You’re just going from fight camp to fight camp and that’s not always good for someone as inexperienced as I am. So it has been great to just fall back for a little bit, and you can’t rush an injury, so I just had to work at a slow, steady pace until I got better, I picked up skills here and there, and now I’m right where I want to be.”
Now that Davis has had a chance to heal up and improve his technique he faces the biggest challenge of his career in the form of a headlining bout with Rashad Evans tonight at UFC on FOX 2. However, rather than be motivated by thoughts of a title-fight with Jon Jones or even the high profile pairing with Evans, Davis pulls inspiration from the notion of maximizing his potential. It’s a mindset he developed in his formative years allowing him to primarily be mindful of the things in his power to control.
“I’ve been a champion before, and the rules change and it’s a completely different sport, but the attitude is very much the same,” the 27-year old revealed. “If you can’t master your own skillset and your own self, then it doesn’t matter who the other guy is or what the other guy is capable of doing. If you can’t be the best you, then he doesn’t even have to be the best. Sometimes you get caught up chasing this number one guy, and all of a sudden, that guy loses and you have to go against somebody else. So why have you been training to fight this guy the whole time?”
“If you’re only looking to beat people, ultimately the people will continue to change,” he explained. “I want to be the best me I can be. I don’t care who I’m gonna have to face. I just want to continue to prepare myself and advance my skills.”
How far his skills have advanced remains to be seen, specifically on FOX tonight at 8:00 PM EST.