The man is... Phil Davis.
At 26 years old Phil Davis is 8-0 in the octogan. He stands 6' 2" and his body hovers around 220 when he's not cutting weight.
His reach is a hair below 80" and his style is very similar to Jon Jones. Both combine a solid wrestling base with jiu jitsu and boxing added on top.
Phil was an NCAA national wrestling champion at 197 lbs, something Jon Jones was unable to do. Jones won his national title in the lesser JUCO (Junior College) circuit.
Both have had impressive early runs in the UFC. Each have compiled dominant victories against good, but not elite fighters.
Davis finished his opponents in an average of 1.75 rounds, yet only two of his eight victories come by TKO.The rest are split down the middle: half submissions, half unanimous decisions.
Jones finishes his competition in an average of 1.86 rounds but a whopping eight of his 14 victories are KO/TKO.
Whenever he's gone to decision it has been unanimous.
It's worth noting that Jones had only three of his eight TKO's in the UFC. The rest were in lower tiered organizations. But Davis has yet to put a UFC challenger to sleep.
At this point, Davis will be brought slowly through the bottom of the elites in the UFC's light heavyweight division. Most likely, he will be facing the winner of Lyoto vs Couture.
Jones will almost surely overwhelm Rashad Evans and then have to contend with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. This will probably pose his biggest challenge yet. Rampage has the best chin and heaviest hands in light heavy. But I foresee a Shogun style route by Jones nonetheless.
I can't see Phil Davis having any difficulty with either Couture or Lyoto. And then voilà! the Davis vs Jones stage will be set in early 2012.
Will Davis beat Jones?
The title of this article is "can" he beat Jones, not will.
Both are in their mid-20s and have evolved frighteningly quickly in their all around fight game. And even though Davis is a better wrestler on paper, GSP has proved that his means absolutely squat in the octogan.
Davis is a lanky framed, long limbed diverse striker. He mixes kicks and strikes fluidly, just like Jones.
If I were a betting man I'd still give a healthy edge to Jones, but considering the landscape of the light heavy division, Davis is the only one on the horizon that can feasibly solve the Jones puzzle.
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