Phil Davis has never really been in the business of calling out other fighters, but he became the victim of that practice when his next opponent Vinny Magalhaes targeted him on Twitter late last year.
Davis and Magalhaes went around and around on Twitter one night in December 2012, arguing about a potential fight that was offered and why it was or was not accepted.
The argument culminated with Davis finally walking away from the social-networking fray, while Magalhaes continued his assault in order to try and land a fight with the former NCAA champion.
The campaign apparently worked, because Magalhaes will get his chance to face Davis this weekend at UFC 159 in New Jersey. For his part, Davis gets the idea behind calling out another fighter, but he was no fan of the way Magalhaes decided to do it.
"I want to be understood on this—there's nothing wrong with calling guys out," Davis told Bleacher Report. "There's nothing wrong with that. There's just a level of respect that goes along with it. If I was to call a guy out I would say, 'Listen I respect this man as a fighter, I love his skill set, I've been a fan of his, I want to fight him.' This is what this game's about. Just because you want to fight a guy doesn't mean you're enemies. This is what we do. But to go along with it to say silly things, it makes things more personal."
Magalhaes' taunts included one message on Twitter that said, "I train for 3 weeks I will beat you in 2 rounds. With a full camp, you'd fake an injury in the locker room." Later in that same exchange, he came back with another zinger aimed at Davis by saying "I'm not that tough actually, exactly why I'm picking a fight with you."
Needless to say, Davis was not amused by Magalhaes' attempts to goad him into a fight, but the very public Twitter exchange likely did play a hand in matching the two light heavyweights together for the fight this weekend.
Davis has no problem facing Magalhaes, but he never quite understood why the multi-time grappling champion decided to go after him on Twitter, instead of calling the guy who could actually get the fight put together in the first place.
"I don't take orders from fighters. If you want to fight me that's cool. It looks like you need to talk to somebody else. Guess what? I don't make matchups. I fight people," Davis stated. "So you go to your friendly neighborhood matchmaker and let him make the decisions. Tell him. If he thinks it's a fight that makes sense he'll make it."
Magalhaes is no stranger to Twitter campaigns during his career. While outside the UFC, Magalhaes was very vocal in his attempts to get back in the promotion, and his time finally came last year. He made the most of the opportunity winning his fight against Igor Pokrajac by armbar at UFC 152.
Now he has a chance to face a top-10 light heavyweight, but Davis warns Magalhaes to be careful what he wishes for—because he just might get it.
"He fought a couple good guys, but simply put, if I were him, I would have done it differently. Fighting a guy in the top 10 when you're one fight in, it doesn't behoove you very much," Davis said. "He can do whatever he wants to do with his career."
As for his own career, Davis isn't planning on going the Magalhaes route any time soon. He's happy to fight whoever the UFC matches him up with, and until he's ready for a title shot, Davis plans on avoiding the game of calling out other fighters.
"Until I'm in the position to fight for the championship, I never say this is the best fight. It's just, what is my next opponent? What is my next move? Whenever the boss calls and says this is who we're fighting, I say, 'Alright, and when do I need to be ready?'" Davis said. "It's as simple as that."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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