Phil Davis: “I’m Dana White’s Hitman”

Team EDGE light heavyweight discusses return from injury

Following his victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC Fight Night 24 in March, light heavyweight up-and-comer Phil Davis admitted he was looking forward to taking a little time off.

Having fought four times in 2010, his win in Seattle was his fifth in the Octagon in the span of thirteen months. Then the UFC called and asked him to replace Jon Jones opposite Rashad Evans at UFC 133. The bout would serve as the card’s main event, the winner standing as top contender in the 205 pound division.

Davis eschewed his plans for rest and relaxation, and jumped at the opportunity. Three weeks prior to the event, the four-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Penn State was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury.

“Everything is well, man; I can’t complain,” answered the affable 26-year-old, speaking to Heavy MMA about his recovery earlier in the week. “I did some aggressive physical therapy to get back into training as soon as possible, and now I’m just getting back into a regular training routine. I can’t complain; things are really good for me right now.”

Davis wouldn’t get into specifics of what happened to his knee, taking the comedic diversion route instead.

“It was just one of those things. I just kind of got kicked and was like, `Man, this does not feel normal. Maybe I should possibly get this checked.’ Sure enough, something was wrong with it.”

Taking the fight opposite Evans put relaxation on hold originally, and while some would believe a knee injury would mean time off his feet for Davis, the unbeaten light heavyweight contender said he still hasn’t gotten the time off he’s been looking forward to since March.

“It absolutely has not given me any down time at all. It went from being I have to be in the gym, I have to get ready to fight Rashad to I have to got to hyperbarics, I have to do my exercises, ice, e-stim (electronic stimulation) every night. I can’t afford to go out of town longer than I have to; short trips. It went from staying in the gym to staying in the training room, getting better, healing myself.

He’s unsure of when he’ll be back in the cage, focusing instead of doing everything he can to make sure he heals properly and is fully recovered before taking the next step, though he admits he’s getting closer.

“My thing is that I just want to follow the doctor’s guidelines to a tee. I haven’t been moving around on my knee too much. I did some really hard physical therapy, and they’re like, `You don’t have a regular knee. Even if it feels good, don’t make the mistake of (thinking our knee is fine.)’

“My knees not fine, and after physical therapy, it needed a lot of rest and just time to let my body get used to having some extra instability. I really don’t know as far as the timeline goes where I’m at on that, but I’m on it now and I’m moving around, [without] a whole lot of pain.”

Davis kept a watchful eye on the proceedings at UFC 133 in Philadelphia, and said he was impressed with Evans’ performance and experiencing mixed emotions during the main event.

“I was hoping that Rashad didn’t take me serious and he was worried about fighting Jon Jones. Judging by his performance and the way he looked, I think he was just being a showman; I think took me very serious, and he worked his butt off to get ready and be prepared for a hard fight.

“It was kind of one of those times where I was like, `Man! I wish I was out there,’ but I couldn’t have been the fighter that I want to be, so it played out the way that it did.”

As for what’s next once he’s ready to return to the cage, Davis likes to keep things simple.

“I’m Dana White’s hitman. If your name is on his list, you’re next.”

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Davis is one of four fighters vying to become the new face of Team Edge.

Cast your vote for “Mr. Wonderful” and you will be entered for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and VIP tickets to a future UFC event.

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