Joey Davis is a gifted athlete, as his 133-0 record and four NCAA Division II wrestling national championships would attest, but he has no designs on being a mixed martial arts lifer.
The 23-year-old admitted as much prior to his sophomore appearance at Bellator 182, where he will face Justin Roswell in a preliminary bout at Turning Stone Casino in Verona N.Y., on Friday night. The prelims stream on Bellator.com at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the main draw on Spike at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
“I would like to be out of this sport before I’m 30. That’s the plan,” Davis told Sherdog.com. “Hopefully I’ll be doing something else when I’m 30. Trying something else in my life. You only live once. You’ve got to have fun. I ain’t trying to be fighting and marking my face. I’ve already got messed up ears from wrestling my whole life.”
Davis, who was introduced into the Bellator fold along with several other prospects who had decorated wrestling backgrounds, made his debut approximately one year ago, taking a unanimous verdict over Keith Cutrone at Bellator 160. Davis believes he has benefitted from the layoff.
“I just needed a little more time to get better at my craft,” he said.
Davis is anchored at Team Bodyshop in California, and he says he will entrust his career to his coaches, a staff which includes longtime MMA veteran Antonio McKee. Regardless of how his Bellator tenure plays out, Davis sees himself as someone with options beyond fighting.
“Whatever my coaches want me to do I’m going to do. I enjoy my life. I go to school. I live my life. I don’t just have to fight for a living,” Davis said. “That ain’t my plan. I do it for fun; I don’t fight because I have to…I don’t plan on doing this for the rest of my life. I’m doing this to see how good I am and just test my abilities. Whatever my coaches want me to do, I’m going to do. My coaches know I’m good and that’s all that matters to me.”
That philosophy hasn’t stopped Davis from setting lofty goals, even if he doesn’t know some of the biggest names in his own division. For example, Davis has admired Georges St. Pierre for years, but he isn’t especially familiar with GSP’s Tristar teammate Rory MacDonald, currently the No. 1 contender in Bellator’s welterweight division.
“I do want to get some superfights. One of my idols is Georges St. Pierre. I know he’ll be out of the game, but I want to fight people like that,” Davis said. “…The title shot will definitely come. I’m 23 years old… I’m worried about seeing how good I am in the cage. I just want to test my abilities. Hopefully by 30 I could be done, but I might not want to be done. I’m just working on seeing what I want to do.
“Rory MacDonald…I think he’s a UFC transfer. I don’t really know too much about him,” he continued. “I’m sure I’ve watched him in the UFC a couple times. I don’t care…..If the money’s right I’ll do anything for money.”
For now, Davis is focused on making the most of his burgeoning MMA career. But he is a man who always seems to have one eye on the future.
“Hopefully one day I want to be a coach. I want to work for athletes one day. I want to be in commercials, I want to be in movies. Fighting is going to help me get there.”