In a recent media scrum in Orlando, UFC president Dana White said he’d like to see Phil Davis assert himself a little more in trying to get into the title picture. More accurately, when asked what Davis could achieve in Baltimore at UFC 172, if he would need a dominant performance over Anthony Johnson to budge from his No. 4 spot in the UFC rankings, White laid it out.
"[Phil]’s one of the best light heavyweights in the world, but he doesn’t come off to me like…dude, I got guys breathing down my f---ing neck wanting fights. I want this fight, I want a title fight, I want this I want that," White said. "Phil Davis is kind of like, eh. I’ll hang out around No. 4 here and meh. He’s not that guy that comes across like I f---ing want it. Like I want to be the champ, I want to be the best in the world. He’s sort of, eh."
And here White shrugged his shoulders.
Well, on the UFC 172 media call on Monday, Davis was told of White’s stance that maybe he should demonstrate better his desire for a title fight instead of being so laid back. With current light heavyweight Jon Jones on the line as well, Davis decided like there was no time like the present to get started.
"Listen, if that’s what [White] said, that’s what he said -- I’m not going to argue with the man, simple as that," Davis said, before steering into the third person. "But, how I feel about it is, if you want Phil Davis calling and texting your phone everyday telling you I want to fight Jon Jones and beat up whoever the champion is, that’s fine.
"That’s not necessarily Phil. It’s really just a miscommunication. So I’m just going to make sure I’m going to do what I’ve got to do Saturday, then I’ll call out whoever the champion is after Saturday night, simple as that."
This conversation led Davis into chastising Jones – who headlines UFC 172 against Glover Teixeira in the main event Saturday night -- while the getting was good. It started with a comment Jones made about Davis saying he was going to crumble him like shortbread cookie on a recent episode of The MMA Hour.
"Jon Jones said I was going to break him apart like a sugar cookie, man, that’s not exactly correct," Davis said. "I promised I was going to break him apart like a sugar cookie. Big difference."
That prompted Jones to say, "yo Phil, that wasn’t very nice, bro, when did we become like this?"
And we were off to the races. The two bantered back and forth throughout the rest of the call, eventually leading to Davis calling Jones "sweetheart" and giving his two cents on what happened between Jones and his sometimes Alliance training partner Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165.
"It’s funny you should ask, because I was going to chime in," Davis said when the subject was brought up. "Here’s what happened. Jon Jones came out doing his regular deal and Alex -- because Alex and I, we train together and we went over some things to do -- I said, listen man, what you really need to do is you need to strong arm him like an American and hit him with a back hand pimp slap. I’m telling you right now, Alexander threw seven different kinds of smoke at this dude, Jon Jones didn’t know up from down when he was fighting Alex. He didn’t know what hit him. He didn’t know why he hit him -- why he was hitting so hard.
"I honestly still don’t really understand really how [Alex] lost, but I will say this -- Jon Jones came back the last two rounds, fourth and fifth rounds, came back like a champion. Did he do enough to win? Absolutely not.
"But, I’m going to tell you this, seven different kinds of smoke. Jon Jones was one fire, seven different kinds of smoke he had."
The banter continued, as Jones asked Davis to specifically cite the rounds that he thought Gustafsson won ("I think he won all the ones where he put them hot hands all over your forehead," he laughed [and laughed]). Later on, after Jones answered a question about Teixeira, Davis interjected again.
"The last time you tried to handle somebody in the striking department, Alex hit you so many times in the right eye you almost turned into a pirate," he said to Jones. "I wouldn’t be so sure you can be better than Glover standing up because let me tell you…he throws heat. What are you going to do?"
Though he was a good sport about it most of the way, toward the end of the Jones responded to Davis using the call to ruffle his feathers.
"I think if anything Phil’s embarrassing himself with all the antics," he said. "But it’s what he decided to do today. You know, I’m a champion. I’m a champion, and I fight the top dogs and my whole career has been in the fast lane. I am not going to sit here and belittle myself by entertaining Phil. At first I thought it was funny, but it’s just silly. And I’m fighting Glover, and he’s fighting Anthony Johnson. I really need to stay focused on Glover, and Glover’s a great challenge to me.
"I just think when you talk like that, and you be so goofy, it puts a lot of pressure on you. I mean, what if he goes out there and gets caught with one of those high kicks from Anthony Johnson and gets knocked out? It’s going to be really embarrassing to talk so much trash to me and then get knocked out by Anthony Johnson. So I’m going to keep my mouth shut and stay focused for what I’m here for, and that’s Glover."