Phil Davis was the first fighter to hand Alexander Gustafsson a loss inside the cage. The two soon became training partners under the Alliance MMA banner after, with each rising to the top of the light heavyweight division.
Davis’ run towards a title shot fell short, but Gustafsson’s did not. “The Mauler” challenged Jon Jones last year for the belt, and was on the cusp of a rematch before injury struck.
The UFC decided to give Daniel Cormier the opportunity in September to compete for the title, but Jones went down with his own injury. Instead of re-inserting Gustafsson, “DC” remains locked in for January.
As a now-former training partner of Gustafsson’s, Davis can understand why that decision was made.
“Here’s what it comes down to, it comes down to what makes the most sense. And unfortunately my boy Alex got hurt when he was preparing for his title shot, and I truthfully believe he was gonna win the belt. So does that suck? Absolutely that sucks,” said Davis, during a recent appearance on Submission Radio. “He was about to be champion of the world. My boy was about to be champion of the world. So obviously I’m upset about that, but at the same time Daniel Cormier gets matched it up when he gets injured and then Jon Jones becomes injured.
“You know on one hand I do think it should go back to Alex, and on the other hand I do agree that Jones should stay matched up with Daniel Cormier. And truthfully I don’t really know what I would do had I been in that position, had it been my call, but I can honestly say it’s not my call and I don’t care who fights him first.”
Davis also said there are no hard feelings over Gustafsson leaving the gym, adding, “We are bros, we are pals.
“If we get together, we’ll train together again,” he said. “Right now, life brings you different seasons. Sometimes what’s right for one time isn’t right for the next time and it’s perfectly fine to do whatever season you’re in in your life and that’s fine. At the end of the day, we’re boys.”
Davis will try to rebound from a loss to Anthony Johnson in October when he heads to Brazil to face Glover Teixeira at UFC 179.