Marcus Davis is a realist. He has no delusions of grandeur in his head of being at or near the top of the UFC's welterweight division.
Davis seemed to be on his way to a title shot until a decision loss to Mike Swick at UFC 85 in June 2008. He won his next two fights, but he then lost back-to-back bouts to Dan Hardy and Ben Saunders. Saunders became the first fighter to knock out Davis last November at UFC 106.
In desperate need of a victory, Davis will face Jonathan Goulet this Saturday at UFC 113 in Montreal. A win will keep him afloat in the deepest division in the UFC, while a loss could very well lead to his walking papers from the company.
Davis recently spoke with Bleacher Report about his new training regiment, his upcoming fight with Goulet, and his past with Dan Hardy.
"I realized I had to change the way I trained," Davis told Bleacher Report when asked what he learned from his lost to Ben Saunders. "I used to lift a ton of weights in my training. I would cut down from between 200-210 pounds to make the cut-off at 170. That was just too much, and I felt weak in my fights and would gas out."
"Give Ben (Saunders) credit though. I didn't come in at my best, and he took advantage of it. He kneed the hell out of my face and won. I took him too lightly, and I paid the price. I guarantee you that I'll never underestimate another opponent again."
Davis realized a flaw in his game, and he's worked hard to correct it. He's changed how he prepared for a fight as well as his diet.
"I ate a lot better, and changed my routine in the gym," he said in regards to changes in his training. "I didn't lift any weights at all. I got on a scale and weighed 172 today. I don't have to put any stress on my body to cut weight, and I feel stronger, quicker, and healthier than I ever have coming into a fight."
"I know I don't have the best diet in the world, so I worked on it. It can be hard, I like fried foods and pizza as much as anyone, but I really focused and concentrated on eating better to incorporate that into my training. When I walk into the cage Saturday night, I'll be walking in with more confidence for a fight than I've ever had. I really believe in the changes I've made."
While the changes had to come from Davis himself, he's quick to point out those that have helped him in his journey.
"I owe everything to Patrick Cote and Jorge Gurgel," Davis said when asked who helped him the most in preparation for his fight. "Patrick is like my brother, and he really did a lot for my stand-up game. Jorge is the greatest guy in the world. He's helped me with my ground game, and if I end up on my back I know I'll be okay and be able to overcome it."
Having confidence going into a fight is a great thing, but when a fighter can look back on previous experience rolling with his opponent, it only adds to the belief that a win is likely. Davis trained with his opponent, Goulet, a year ago and that could be a key factor come fight night.
"Jonathan came and trained with us about a year ago. He and I were in the cage a lot together, and we went at it pretty good for awhile. I feel that my game matches up well against him, and he can't do anything to me to end the fight other than possibly cutting my paper-thin skin. I don't see that happening though, and I think I'll come out of the cage with a win."
Although Davis is focused on the task at hand, it doesn't mean he doesn't think about the past and what may have been. He fought and lost a split decision to Dan Hardy last June in a fight that he still feels he won.
"You know, it's hard not to think about where I'd be if I won that fight, especially because I still believe I won that fight," Davis said when asked for his thoughts on his bout with the British fighter. "Everyone I've talked to—ESPN, Sports Illustrated, any of the big MMA sites—all tell me that they think I won that fight. I can't change what happened though, I just can't allow any more fights to go to the judges though. I won't put my fate in their hands."
Asked if he wanted to fight Hardy again, Davis was quite clear in his answer.
"I want to fight him more than anyone else right now. I think I might need a couple wins to get a rematch, but it's definitely a fight I want. I'd love to fight him in Boston or Ireland. He talks so much trash, I want to fight him on my turf, and Boston or Ireland are the two places where I'd have that home-field advantage."
As Davis said, it will take more than just a win on Saturday night to face Hardy. Even a spectacular knockout won't put him in the top 10 of his division. He can't worry about Hardy, or any other potential future fights.
Marcus Davis may never be a champion, however, he's the type of fighter that will go out every fight and give the fans everything he's got. With the lack of inspiring performances lately, fans will never have to wonder what they'll get from Davis. He is the type of fighter that is vital to the success of the UFC, and somebody that will never disappoint, even if he isn't always a winner.
To read more by Jesse Motiff, click here.