BOSTON -- No fighter on the UFC 118
card can identify with James Toney
the way Marcus Davis
can. A former boxer, Davis went 17-1 with two draws in a six-and-a-half year ring career before he decided to transition to mixed martial arts.
Unlike Toney, who hounded UFC president Dana White into submission until he received a contract, Davis took a more conventional path to MMA's big show. It was one with many bumps, bruises and blood, a true learning journey that proved to Davis what it takes to be successful in MMA. And as a result of that experience, he's not buying Toney's claims that he feels comfortable in the cage and ready to go.
"He ain't doing nothing. He's not going to do anything," Davis said when asked about Toney's chances. "Just like everybody who's a journalist of MMA, a practitioner, a coach, or a fan, they'll tell you, it's got to be a one-punch victory and that's it. If he gets pushed up against the cage, he's going down on the ground. If they go down, he ain't getting back up. Randy's not going to let that happen."
"It's just different, like saying a professional basketball player is going to put a mitt on and play professional baseball," Davis continued. "It's a different sport. It's so different. I remember when I was a boxer, I remember the things I thought. 'Oh, if you're going to shoot, I'll uppercut you.' Like it's that easy. You really think that, until you get in there."
Davis said that in his early MMA days, he was matched against opponents of similar MMA experience levels, but because of his days as a boxer, he would score easy knockouts.
One particular fight led to new realizations about how difficult MMA could be. It was still early in his career, and he was matched up with current UFC welterweight Thiago Alves. The event was held in a small, Massachusetts-based promotion, and Alves was just 20 at the time.
"I'd never been kicked in the leg, ever," Davis said. "We fought just a vicious fight. It went three rounds to a decision. I ended up getting six staples in my head and both my eyes sewn up."
Davis said that after the fight, he'd been leg-kicked so hard and so often that he couldn't stand up. At that point, he decided to learn how to deal with leg kicks, and it eventually led to him meeting his longtime striking coach, Mark DellaGrotte.
He didn't truly start studying jiu-jitsu and wrestling until after he competed on season two of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005.
The experience proved humbling to Davis, who says that as a result, he has almost no interest in watching a neophyte mixed martial artist face Randy Couture
, regardless of the fact that the neophyte is a multi-time boxing champion.
"I called Randy, I talked to Randy about it, and I said, 'You know what? The worst thing about this fight is that everybody wants to talk to me about it because of my boxing background," said Davis, who will square off with Nate Diaz
during the pay-per-view portion of the card. " And I said, 'Prove me right. Just go out there and prove me right.' And he said, 'I will.'"