When Alexis Davis overcame Liz Carmouche via a unanimous decision victory on Wednesday in the UFC Fight for the Troops 3 co-main event at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, it was clear that Davis should be the next contender for Ronda Rousey and the women’s bantamweight championship.
Rousey still must square off against Miesha Tate at the conclusion of the filming of season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. However, with the defending champion making Tate tap in the first round when these two women last met in 2012, the stage has been set for Davis to become the new No. 1 contender.
Davis is one of the strongest fighters in the division, but it’s her ability to take as much punishment as she gives out that will prove she deserves the spot in the title fight.
Carmouche is regarded as one of the toughest women in the sport of MMA, but Davis had her moving backward for most of this fight with her strong leg kicks and precision punching.
As great as Davis looked, Carmouche was able to land a few shots of her own and opened up a cut that covered Davis’ face with blood. Despite the adversity, Davis continued moving forward with her game plan and took the battle right to her opponent with an aggressive style.
That relentless attitude and attack shown on Wednesday is exactly what it will take to pull out an upset over a talented fighter like Rousey. While the champion still has the better submission skills (all seven of Rousey's victories have come via armbar submission), Davis is one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the women’s division.
Davis would have to use the clinch to minimize Rousey’s effectiveness.
As great as the champion is at judo, Davis took Carmouche to the ground several times, and it was her ability to hold control along the walls of the Octagon that proved she will be able to drag a potential fight against Rousey past the first round.
Add in the fact that Davis vs. Rousey is a fight fans still have not witnessed in UFC or Strikeforce, and Dana White and company officials must see the results from Wednesday’s show and give Davis the eventual title shot she deserves.
As long as Rousey gets past Tate—that shouldn’t be too big of a test—the superfight between Davis and the champion will be the biggest women’s bout in UFC history.