Marcus Davis Ready to Explode on American Soil For The First time since 2007

The UFC had an event in the United Kingdom and Marcus Davis watched it from home. Chilling on the couch, he watched Randy Couture take a controversial decision over Brandon Vera and two former opponents slug it out for a shot at the welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. After seven fights overseas as the unofficial UFC ambassador to Europe, Davis is coming home to fight in America for the first time since 2007.

“It was a little weird to be watching from home. It’s a good thing I had this fight a week later. I’m chomping at the bit,” Davis said. His last fight, a controversial loss to Dan Hardy that saw the voluble Brit question Davis’s status as an honorary Irishman. The resulting negativity helped sell tickets, but it didn’t sour Davis on his European adventures. “No, not at all. I’ve had nothing except pleasant experiences over there. The only bad experience I had was with that douchebag (Hardy). I don’t blame the fans there or even his supporters. He did that himself. He’s responsible for his words and his antics. Not anybody else over there. If God’s on my side, I’ll get to to go back and fight there again.”

Hardy won a title shot by taking a unanimous decision over another Davis opponent, American Kickboxing Academy standout Mike Swick. While both men put a loss on his record, he was less than impressed with either man. Swick looked rattled from the beginning and Hardy didn’t follow up quickly enough for his liking when there were chances to finish the fight. “Dan Hardy made a lot of mistakes,” Davis said. “He kept going for the takedown when he was winning the standing exchanges and didn’t really follow up when he had Mike hurt. I know he’s thinking about that right now too. With Swick, it was just a really bad night for Mike. For whatever reason, things just didn’t go his way. That happens sometimes, even to the best.”

Now Hardy, a man Davis doesn’t respect, is getting a title shot. “It bothers me a little bit (that Hardy earned a title shot),” Davis said. “But it bothers me more that he got the nod in our fight. He won that fight based on me getting a bloody nose, a little cut right above my nose. Here’s the thing that sucks: if fights are decided based on who bleeds more, I’ll lose everytime. With my tissue paper white Irish skin, I’ll bleed if you look at me hard.”

Back on American soil after more than two years overseas, Davis has a tall task in front of him. Literally. His opponent, Ben Saunders, at 6-3, has a five inch height advantage and is pretty good at using his size to gain an advantage in the clinch. But Davis has been preparing for this kind of bout for years.

“My whole life I’ve been sparring with taller guys,” Davis said. “My whole boxing career, I used to spar with a guy that was 6-9. And I was the original MMA trainer for Tim Sylvia and he’s 6-8. Tim and I used to spar all the time. I don’t think his height is going to be an issue. I think he has bigger problems then I do. He doesn’t have twitchy speed at all in his muscles. He doesn’t have fast hands or good feet. He’s very slow and methodical. His hands are a lot slower than mine. How will he handle that. I’ll be getting my hands of quickly. My head movement and quickness will be a bigger obstacle for him than his height will be for me.”

Davis is preparing for the fight with his mentor and trainer Mark Dellagrotte. And while other MMA trainers like Greg Jackson and Pat Miletich are better know, the dapper and be-hatted Dellagrotte is quickly developing a reputation for excellence. He was the kickboxing instructor for the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter and trained Kenny Florian as well as Davis and a handful of others. To Davis, Dellagrotte is more than a teacher-he’s like family.

“Unlike a bunch of other trainers, Mark Dellagrotte actually gets in there and puts on the gloves and spars,” Davis said. “The best sparring I ever have is with Mark Dellagrotte. He’s great on the ground and the highest level of Muay Thai. He’s also the highest level of Jeet Kun Do fighter. He’s just a martial arts wizard. He gets in there and busts it up with you, so he knows what your strengths and weaknesses are. He’s also the man with the plan. Everytime I’ve followed his gameplan, I’ve done well. I’ve had sixteen fights under Mark and won fourteen of them. It’s great to have 100 percent faith in what your corner is telling you, so you just go in and execute.”

The loss to Hardy derailed a slow build from the prelims to the main event for Davis. Originally he was relegated to the untelevised portion of the show for his fight Saturday with Saunders. Now his fight will be available to almost 100 million homes on free television, as Spike TV will telecast live undercard bouts at 9:00pm ET from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. “It will mean huge exposure for me,” Davis said. “And it means everyone in Maine can catch the fight. Sponsorships and companies looking at the UFC will see me put on a performance, if it’s the performance I think it can be, that will make a lot of things possible.”

Davis is thirty-six and the window for him to win a championship is slowly closing. At this stage of his career, every fight counts. After seven fights in 2006, he’s had just three fights a year since 2007. “I would like to four or five fights a year. That would be ideal,” Davis said. “When I signed my new contract, I did five fights that first year. That’s what I would like, but right now I’m lucky just to be working for this company. There are only thirty people in the world who fight in the welterweight division of the UFC. And there are a lot of people in the world. I find myself blessed just to be doing this. I’m just a kid from Bangor, Maine and I have a Topps trading card. I’ve been on pay per view, Spike TV, a reality TV show, TNA wrestling, video games…it’s surreal for me.”

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