Phil Davis has said that withdrawing from a fight against Rashad Evans, originally scheduled for UFC 133, "feels like a loss."
The former NCAA Division I wrestling stand out told ESPN about his upset and dismay about having to pull out of the fight due to a knee injury.
“I wanted to fight, but I think Dana White has had more experience with my personality type. I think he made a good call. But being the person I am, I don’t like to back out. I don’t think it’s a defeat necessary, but somehow it feels like a loss. There’s no saying ‘uncle,'" Davis said.
“Right now, I’m just doing some rehab, some therapy. I will start doing some training this week.
"I just want to get healthy. I’m not looking at a strict timeline. That’s how you end up with disappointment. I just want to be healthy.”
Davis' injury and subsequent withdrawal from the event led to the UFC embarking on a frantic search to find a replacement for its main event, and Tito Ortiz agreed to fight Evans and accepted the fight at short notice.
Had Davis gotten past Evans, it is very likely that he would have fought the winner of the bout between Jon Jones and Rampage Jackson.
Furthermore, UFC 133 was set to take place in Philadelphia, where Davis has many friends and family that he wished to fight in front of.
“I have so many friends and family in the area. I wanted to perform in front of everybody in Philly, being close to home. That’s a huge part of my disappointment," he said.
“As time goes by I will be OK with [not competing at UFC 133]. It’s going to be a little bittersweet seeing how great the show is going to be. But that’s part of the game."
Dana White spoke to ESPN about the situation.
“Could he have continued training? Yes, he could have,” White said during a recent conference call. “But the reality is that the kid is hurt.
“He’s a young guy, he’s undefeated and he can’t even train in kickboxing for the next couple of weeks; he can’t wrestle to some extent. And let me tell you this, too: Phil Davis, 100 percent, still wanted this fight. And I was like, ‘There is no way, kid.'"
Davis, who is undefeated in MMA, is looking to make a full recovery and will be using the time off to hone his skills and improve them further, including his already superb wrestling skills and stand-up, which he was planning to show off against Evans at UFC 133.