Vinny Magalhães has never been one to hide his feelings.
The Brazilian is one of the more outspoken fighters in today's game, and recently spoke to BJPenn.com about his upcoming fight with Phil Davis and how he expects his training partner, Chael Sonnen, will fare against UFC champion Jon Jones.
Magalhães landed his fight with Davis after campaigning over the Internet. He has only one win since rejoining the UFC's ranks, but made it a point to call out the top 10-ranked fighter. Even though some fans are viewing the pairing as a mismatch, Magalhães believes he's more than game for the former NCAA Division I wrestling champion:
"I’ve been a competitor since I was a little kid and I strongly believe that there’s no point in doing anything unless you’re thinking about winning a championship. There’s a ton of guys in the UFC that are just there to collect a pay check and I’m not one of those guys. My goal is to one day fight for the title and of course win it and I think [beating Davis] will be a big step forward in achieving that goal. I’m definitely not looking at this as an easy fight but he’s someone in my division that will help position me closer to a title shot.
Davis has six wins in the UFC but two wins were against guys that dropped to middleweight and just became top contenders when they dropped down to 185 lbs. As a light heavyweight, Brian Stann who is a guy I respect a lot was not a top contender in this division and neither was Tim Boetsch. Also, what he did to those guys was like the perfect style for him because neither of those guys are great on the ground so all he had to do was take them down and grind them out a little bit."
Magalhães is banking on the age old saying of "styles make fights" for reasoning behind his confidence.
"...he’s top 10 based on his six wins in the UFC but style wise he just had perfect fights and I don’t think I’m a perfect fight for him. I think if anything he’s a perfect fight for me because he’s going to take me where I want to be," Magalhães said.
Indeed, he is a bad match up for Davis, as Davis' strengths play directly into the strengths of the Brazilian. Magalhães is one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the game today and Davis will certainly have to be careful as he navigates the ground game in the fight.
Davis is the more well rounded striker, but the Brazilian isn't too concerned about the fight taking place on the feet:
"Even if he keeps it standing, I don’t care because that’s like a lottery game and I feel I’d be a little bit luckier than him in that department. I’ve dropped a few guys with kicks and with punches before and I’ve never seen him drop anyone with his hands or even hurt anyone with his striking for that matter."
Competing along with Magalhães is Sonnen. Magalhães has drawn criticism from his fellow Brazilians in the past for working with the former middleweight contender, but the two men continue to work with one another in the gym.
Magalhães is fairly confident that his teammate will shock the world at UFC 159.
“People are used to seeing Chael talking and losing in title fights to Anderson Silva but I don’t think people realize that Anderson is a totally different animal than Jon Jones. I think Anderson is a much better fighter than Jon Jones and Jon hasn’t been tested off his back and that’s exactly where Chael is going to be able to put him.
I think Chael takes a decision in that fight, it’s a tough fight but I don’t see it as a mismatch like most people think it is. People just don’t get it and are like ‘oh well you know Chael hasn’t won a fight at light heavyweight in years and even when he fought at light heavyweight he lost’ and all this stuff but styles make matches."
I agree with Magalhães about the "styles make matches" comment when discussing his bout with Davis, but it doesn't apply to Sonnen's fight with Jones. Yes, Anderson Silva is on a different level from Jones in the striking department, but we've all seen Silva's takedown defense be shaky at best when facing good wrestler.
Jones not only represents a superior striker when facing Sonnen but also brings a pretty good wrestling game of his own to the Octagon. While I believe Sonnen's skills are up to the task of taking Jones down, it won't be as easy as taking down "The Spider."
Regardless of how you feel about who comes out on top of these matchups, at least the build up from Magalhães' and Sonnen's comments should make for some great hype heading into UFC 159.
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