Jessica Eye thinks Alexis Davis might be overlooked heading into UFC 175. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
According to oddsmakers, Alexis Davis is the biggest underdog on the UFC 175 bill.
As a Ronda Rousey opponent, that’s par for the course. Each of the Olympic judoka’s first three foes -- Liz Carmouche, Miesha Tate and Sara McMann -- inside the Octagon faced similarly long odds when they squared off with the reigning women’s bantamweight champion.
That’s all well and good, but according to Jessica Eye, Rousey shouldn’t expect a cakewalk at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night. If anyone should know Davis’ capabilities, it’s Eye. The Strong Style Fight Team product dropped a contentious split verdict to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt at UFC 170 in February.
While two of three cageside judges gave the fight to Davis, media scores were nearly split down the middle, according to MMADecisions.com . Nine unofficial scorers sided with Davis, while eight others saw the bout in favor of Eye.
Although the end result was disappointing, Eye is eager to see how her last opponent fares against Rousey.
“I’m pumped about it, considering I know that when Alexis gives her a lot harder time than she’s expecting, it just makes me look that much better,” Eye said. “I’m definitely hoping for a little bit more of a war. I think people are kind of underestimating Alexis. I did. I didn’t realize once we got down on the ground she was as strong as she was...With a world-class jiu-jitsu game like that, it’s gonna stylistically match up with Ronda very well.”
Eye admits that the close nature of the defeat sometimes gets her thinking about what might have been, but she also realizes she could have done more to have her hand raised.
“The UFC is giving me opportunities to prove myself,” she said. “I have to be the one to take hold of the situation and really, truly rise up to it. I’m really excited to see that fight [Saturday] because I know Alexis is going to give an amazing fight, and that’s gonna make me look better. It’ll continue to show people that I’m a force to be reckoned with.”
The same night Eye lost to Davis, Rousey decimated McMann, a silver medalist in freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Olympics, in just 66 seconds in the UFC 170 main event. Performances like that one illustrate why “Rowdy” continues to be such a heavy favorite in her fights.
While McMann was not as competitive as some expected, Eye takes issue with Rousey’s recent suggestion that the Olympian wasn’t ready to be a champion. As a fighter with future title aspirations herself, Eye doesn’t believe any opponent is capable of making such an assessment of someone they might not really know.
“I don’t think anybody is given the right as a female or a male to even say that because none of us know each other on a personal level,” Eye said. “How can you make a statement like that when you don’t know if someone’s ready or not? Maybe [they] weren’t ready to fight, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have all the tools -- they’re a great speaker, or a good person, [or] a huge advocate for the sport.
“Just because you don’t win a fight doesn’t mean that you’re not technically ready for it,” she continued. “There’s other aspects to it. I think that it’s kind of a hard statement to make. I think a champion can make that statement only because it’s their title, and they’re holding it.”