Although virtually every poll, the vast majority of media reports, UFC President Dana White and television analyst Brian Stann had the fight scored 30-27 for Machida, the judges favored the former NCAA champion by straight 29-28 scores. The win was based on Davis scoring late takedowns in the first and second round.
Davis accepts the win as legitimate, and has no interest in Machida’s camp challenge of a rematch, this time going five rounds instead of three.
"I have 12 wins, 11 wins (Davis’ record is 12-1 with 1 no contest), all those guys want rematches," Davis said on Monday’s MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. "You’re not the first person who wants a rematch. You fight every fight like this. You fight close fights. Name one fight that he didn’t finish where he beat the crap out of somebody."
The fight would be a tough sell as a five-round main event because the first fight was a lackluster, although it was a very typical Machida style fight. If anything, what happened in the fight was very predictable, right up until the judges read the scores.
"You live by that sword, you die by that sword," said Davis. "When you habitually leave it to the judges, that strategy will fail you. I can’t say it any other way."
In scoring the fight after he’s seen it, Davis believes he won the first two rounds, and conceded dropping round three. Two of the three judges agreed with him, with a third judge giving him two and three.
"The first was pretty even," he said. "The first round is almost always a hard round to score. There’s not a lot of momentum. A lot of times people are feeling each other out. Machida has this style where he’ll wait until the last minute-and-a-half of the round, explode with a flurry, evade, evade, not for the rest of the time, but pretty much. If you get taken down in that minute-and-a-half time frame, you’re screwed. So he lost that round. To say takedowns shouldn’t decide a round, well, then one flurry shouldn’t win the round."
Davis also downplayed the flurry Machida scored in the first round, before the takedown, which is what those who felt he won the round pointed to.
"I think one punch actually landed," said Davis. "The knee missed me entirely. It wasn’t close. In retrospect, it was too close for comfort. If that hits you, you’d have been in big trouble, but he didn’t come close to connecting. It’s one of those things that if you see it on TV, you think it hit, but if you watch it at cage side or on replay, he actually hit the knee against the fence and that probably sucked."
While he praised Brian Stann as an announcer for the show as a whole, Davis felt Stann was biased in analyzing what was happening.
"When I went back and watched the fight, I did think it was a little biased," he said. "I was watching the telecast in the back the entire night. I thought he did an awesome job and I think he did a good job in my fight. His job is no easier than mine."
Like almost everyone Machida fights, Davis admitted he was a difficult opponent, in fact, the most difficult he ever faced in some ways.
"Definitely so," he said. "I expected him to be a puzzle and he definitely was. His kicks are fast. That dude is fast. He has a certain kind of game, It’s very particular. It’s very hard to deal with. Nobody you can get the opportunity to train with will be very close to him."
Davis also noted, when it comes to fight statistics, that they are misleading and when it comes to wrestling, not indicative of the mentality of a wrestler.
In particular, Davis was noting the statistic in that fight where he connected on two of his ten takedown attempts, only scoring late in round one and another late in round two, which were the moves that likely won him the decision.
"There are areas where the stats are collected wrong," Davis said. "A lot of people say, Lyoto Machida has the best takedown defense in the light heavyweight division. That makes it sound like he’s really good at wrestling. Except, he’s not really good at wrestling.
"If you have a guy like Lyoto Machida, who keeps an extra-long range, who has great kicks and his kicks allow him to keep a great range and strike from the outside, and he’s a counter striker, in order to close the distance and take him down, you have to jump through hoops and make this happen. He’s able to, from that distance, evade a lot of takedowns. So to say he’s got the best takedown defense in the light heavyweight division, you are inaccurately reporting on what’s going on. Now let me say, he has great, fast hips. He’s not easy to take down by any stretch of the imagination."
Davis also felt that two-for-ten stat was analyzed wrong. After the fight, some questioned who won the wrestling aspect of the game, saying if Machida stopped that high a percentage he should get credit for stopping eight takedowns more than Davis for his two successes. Davis said people who come to that conclusion don’t understand wrestling.
"Let me explain something, the mentality of a guy with my wrestling background that when you go for a takedown, it’s not always to get a takedown," he said. "A lot of times it’s to establish dominance.
"That’s one of the reasons Machida keeps his range, if you’re forcing the takedown," he said. "I’m the one in control of the center. The judges see, in wrestling if one person takes three shots in a row, the other guy is stalling. If I take a shot and he took no shots, he didn’t do anything. Nobody in wrestling keeps the stats of how many shots you take. It’s how many takedowns you get, and who is in control. If you have two, the stat is it was two-to-none."
Davis is now in an interesting situation. Right now, at light heavyweight, it appears that Glover Teixeira (21-2) has the inside track on the winner of the Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson title fight on Sept. 21 in Toronto. UFC officials said if Teixeira looks impressive in winning his Sept. 4 fight in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, against Ryan Bader, that he’s next in line. If he loses, or doesn’t look impressive, Daniel Cormier, who is dropping to 205, provided he beats Roy Nelson, may get the shot.
Davis has made it clear that if Gustafsson, one of his main training partners, beats Jones, that he has no problem fighting Gustafsson a second time, but only if he’s the champion.
Davis beat Gustafsson via submission in the first round in 2010, which is still Gustafsson’s only career loss.
"We spar so hard and so often, why wouldn’t we get paid to do this," Davis said. "It makes no sense not to. But when it comes down to fighting not for a title, why would you lose a training partner? But we’re in this to be the best."