When Bellator MMA staged its first “Dynamite” card last September, the California-based promotion was looking to bridge Glory with its own brand of MMA. The end result was a memorable card, but one of the things that stood out was how easily Phil Davis ran though the event’s one-night heavyweight tournament.
Davis began his run by submitting former champ Emanuel Newton and then mowed down Francis Carmont in the final round. The only drawback: Davis was supposed to meet Muhammed Lawal in the final, but “King Mo” got hurt in his opening-round win and had to withdraw.
On Saturday, in the main event of Bellator 154, “Mr. Wonderful” will have his chance to topple Lawal. However, the 205-pounders are no bitter rivals. The way Davis sees it, Lawal is standing in the way of what the Pennsylvania native is trying to accomplish. There are no hard feelings.
“He’s a cool dude,” Davis said of Lawal in a recent interview with Sherdog.com. “He’s a great fighter, too. We go way back from our days in wrestling. We’ve got a lot of history.”
Though the majority of the MMA world was disappointed when Lawal pulled out, Davis scoffed at such a notion.
“Disappointed? Man, I got no time to be disappointed,” said Davis. “Whoever gets in that cage with me is gonna lose. I don’t care about those changes, because the result will be the same. I don’t care if I get a new opponent right now. Obviously, I don’t want Mo to get hurt or anything like that, but as long there is another person that steps into that cage, it doesn’t matter who it is.”
Davis admitted that he is happier to be fighting Lawal now because they are both at full strength. He believes it will make for a more competitive and exciting battle. Regardless of the health of his opponent, the four-time NCAA All-American said that his plan will remain unchanged.
“I don’t like to script things in my head too much,” Davis said when asked how the fight will unfold. “I just want to go in there with a clear head, picking my shots and doing things right. I’m not going to say that I’m going to go and beat up Mo in 50 seconds. No, man. I’m going to go in there, wait for my openings and capitalize on them. I have a goal in mind, so I’m not going to be reckless for no reason.”
Davis’ goal is simple: capture the Bellator light heavyweight title, which currently resides with Liam McGeary.
“I think about it a lot,” Davis admitted of the title hunt. “I want to be the champion, and I will be the champion. Mo is just standing in my way. I was supposed to be fighting for the belt next, actually. However, I wasn’t able to do that so I’ll just fight Mo.
“And no,” Davis added with a chuckle, “this doesn’t mean that I’m looking past Mo at all. I know how the media likes to spin things. I want that title more than anything, but I can’t get it if I lose to Mo.”