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Marcus Davis Interview: It's the battles they'll remember

Everybody wants to win at what they do, and mixed martial artists are of course no different. But Marcus Davis understands what make athletes rememberable. It's not just the wins.

It's the battles.

Everybody who saw it remembers when Joe Montana delivered that strike to Dwight Clark in the endzone to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in their epic struggle. No one that witnessed the Thrilla in Manilla between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier will ever forget it. It's just those kinds of battles that Marcus Davis is looking for in his sport of choice. The ones that people will talk about for years to come.

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Simply put, he wants to put on great fights.

Along with this, in Davis's last bout against Paul Taylor he showed the ever improving submission arsenal that has become part of his game in a very memorable up and down struggle. So what is he planning for an encore?

Lucky for us, Davis took the time to discuss that and more with's Robert Rousseau. How's training been going?

MD: Training's going really well. I just got out of my first session today, and the next session is at 7 o'clock tonight. Who have you had in your camp training with you?

MD: Right now it's myself, Kenny Florian, Mark DellaGrotte, Jorge Rivera, Patrick Cote and (some) guys that are getting ready for fights but are not in the UFC. So Jorge has a fight and so do some of the other guys you're working with.

MD: Yeah, Patrick has a fight five days after mine, Jorge is fighting the same night as me, and Kenny is just in there sparring with us and grappling with us to help us out So what do you think of your opponent, Jess Liaudin?

MD: I think he's very dangerous. I think his record is deceiving; he hasn't lost in a very long time, I cant remember when it was. . . I think he hasn't lost in like two or three years.
Yeah, he's won five in a row.

MD: Five in a row, yeah. He's doing really well. He can do everything: he's a real good grappler; he's got real good kicks; his hands aren't as good as mine, but I (still) think he's a dangerous striker in the clinch. So, I think he's well rounded (and) I'm taking him very, very, very seriously. I think stylistically this fight is probably one of the most dangerous fights I've had yet. I'm not saying he's the toughest guy I've fought but I think he's one of them. This is going to be your third fight overseas in a row. Do you like competing there?

MD: I've fought in Ireland, then I fought in England, and now back to England. Yeah, I like it a lot, I really like it a lot. The fans are awesome, super intense, and real appreciative. I really enjoy fighting over there. I'd be hard pressed not to ask you something about TUF. You were obviously once a contestant on the show, and we've recently had some TUF competitors that basically quit the show and left. So what was your TUF experience like, and is the fact that people would leave the show surprising to you or not given that you were there?

MD: The show was kind of a double edged sword for me. At the time, when it happened, it sucked because I did poorly and was so one dimensional and had no idea. But the good thing that it did is that it opened my eyes and made me realize if you're really going to do this then you want to do it right. You've got to learn everything. You have to do everything and cant just be a boxer and try not to be taken down.

It (also) opened up doors because I wasn't just calling gyms and saying hey I'm just some guy? can I come over there and work or can you show me this?. . . (For example)? I called up Randy Couture once and said, hey it's Marcus Davis, I'd like to come over there. He said, hey Marcus, it's no problem come on over, man. I also became good friends with Jorge Gurgel. He worked on my ground with me constantly for a long time. So I became more comfortable.

It was (just) easier for me to get the kind of training and learn the stuff that I needed to learn (because of the show). I got short cuts to that stuff. People (usually) sign up for a class and they're in it for three years getting belts and crap. I'm cutting through all of that stuff and getting to the nitty gritty of what I need to know to be able to win fights. So it helped me there. The show opened your eyes and got you through all of the red tape to what you needed.

MD: Exactly. You kind of answered this a little. But I was trying to think on this and of all the TUF contestants, I can't think of one? you talked out how you felt you were kind of one dimensional on TUF? that improved on their weakness as much as you have since the show. You talked a little bit about it before, but is there anything else you'd like to say in terms of how you did that?

MD: On the show everyone knows that I got a pretty serious injury when Joe Stevenson picked me up and slammed me on the ground. If you watch the videotape to this day you'll see that I landed on my shoulder. I ended up separating my AC joint and clavicle and kept that through the whole show. I (even) kept it when I fought Melvin Guillard in the finale. After the finale, it took about 3-4 months for that sprain to actually go away.

The whole time after the finale, all I did was tie my arm to the side of my body. I never threw a punch, I never did anything. All I did was grapple with one arm. . . It got to the point where people couldn't pass my guard. I just had a really good open guard and was feeling good on the ground because I was forced to practice there. I was hanging with everybody, within reason. I went from being a guy that couldn't grapple at all to being a guy that now? (Let's just say that) I show up at places grappling with black belts and they're not submitting me. So, it helped me change a lot. Speaking of your grappling, that last fight against Paul Taylor was just a great fight to watch. Obviously you showed your toughness in that he hit you, you went down, and he really did some serious ground and pound that you handled and were able to come back from. The second impressive thing you showed was that immediate armbar when he turned you over. That was pretty impressive. Did that fight do anything for your confidence in terms of MMA fighting in general or submission fighting in the Octagon?

MD: It hasn't changed me as far as what I think I'm able to do. I'm actually a lot better than what anybody's seen yet, which makes me feel even better. There are things that I can do that no one has seen me do. Everybody's seen me do a couple of little things here and there. Like when I was fighting Pete Spratt everybody saw me use a Greco throw on him. When I was fighting Paul Taylor, you know, pulling off that submission. (That's just) bits and pieces. . . There's a lot more behind me than what anybody knows. It might come out in this fight; it might not come out in this fight. It's one of those things that I have in the past purposefully not kind of let it all hang out. (Rather) I went in and stuck to a very specific plan. (In other words), I don't need to do any of this other stuff, I'm going to shorten the techniques to these things. . This is how I'm going to win the fight. I've done that purposefully a few times. Who wants to let everybody know what you're capable of doing?

If I ended up fighting somebody in the future that wants to work the clinch on me, well I've got some tools from there that they can't get any tape on. I'm just kind of playing it that way and trying to be smart about my career. I know it's risky sometimes to limit yourself like that. At the same time, I'm always going to have that secret weapon thing in my back pocket ready to come out. When the time is right for it.

MD: Right, people have seen my fights and some of them are like, holy crap, I can't believe he just did that. That's what I want them to keep on doing. You're a good person to ask this question of because you're a former boxer. Floyd Mayweather has been making headlines indicating that he may jump into a MMA ring or Octagon. I've seen some of your responses to boxers who think they can just come in and knock a guy out before they take him down. Do you have any advice for Floyd Mayweather if he were to do this?

MD: Yeah, my advice is don't do it. What's going to happen is either A? he's going to have to learn a little bit and fight a bunch of stiffs (and) he's not going to get any respect. People are going to crack on him and say he's never fought anybody. Or he's going to have one of his matchmakers that knows nothing about MMA say let's take this guy. And they're going to pick some guy that's like 20-8, thinking that a 20-8 record is like a 20-8 record in boxing, and the guy is going to kill him. The first time he does that lean away? he likes to lean away and lean to the side? the first time he does that and somebody leg kicks him, he's going to say that's not so bad. (But) after two, three, four leg kicks he's not going to be able to move that leg. What are they going to do? They're going to shoot on him. So he's going to get his leg kicked a few times? that's what I would do? I wouldn't even box with him. I can box, but I wouldn't do it because he's a way better boxer than I am. So I would set up my kicks with my punches? make him think I'm going to punch? and then kick his leg, kick his leg, kick his leg, then I would fake a punch, shoot in, take him down and finish the fight. (An) easy one minute- two minute win. You've won 10 of 11 since TUF. I know you're focused on Jess Liaudin right now and rightfully so as he's a very good fighter as you pointed out. Still, is there anyone out there? assuming you win this fight? that you'd like to get the chance to go in there with?

MD: I really don't know. At this point in my career, I know everybody wants me to start calling people out because I get this a lot. I want to fight this guy, I want to fight that guy. (Laughing) We all ask this same question.

MD: I want to fight good fights. I don't want to fight fights that are going to be boring. I probably don't have a lot of time left in my career. I just want to make sure that they're really good fights and they're exciting fights. I want to end my career at some point with people saying do you remember that Marcus Davis fight? I want to have like three or four fights like Mickey Ward did in boxing, you know what I mean? I was at that first fight with Gatti. Oh my God, what a fight that was. That was unbelievable.

MD: Exactly. That's what I want. See how you just said that? That's what I want people to say. I want people to say, oh my god that was crazy. I've always told everybody, I think that fight for me is Takanori Gomi. If I could ever fight him. . If they said you've got to make 165 because he likes to do that catch weight stuff, no problem. I think that's the fight that I want, but I don't think it's ever going to happen. That would be something.

Big bombs, you know what I mean. Everybody on the internet, some think I'm still a stiff. . . (They say) Takanori Gomi would kill me. The thing is that in my whole boxing career and everything I've ever done, I've never been knocked out. It's never happened. In my whole life, no one has ever hit me with a punch or kick to the head and knocked me out. I've been knocked down and I've gotten back up every frigging time. . . I don't think he's going to knock me out. What I think is going to happen is that we would get in there and we would beat the living piss out of each other and people would go crazy. He doesn't like to fight on the ground and I'm not going to take him on the ground anyway. He's good there? him and I are roughly the same on the ground. We'd probably just stand up and throw bombs. I think it would be a good fight. Do you have a prediction for the fight, and is there anything you'd like to say to fans?

MD: A fight with Jesse Liaudin, there's not going to be a decision. Just look at my career. I have two decisions on my record. One was because I agreed to fight a 205 pounder at 185 pounds (laughing) and I still won the fight by decision. And the other one was Shonie Carter, where I had a detached thumb in the first round. So I had to fight with one hand worried that if I hit the ground I couldn't grapple. I finish fights. Someway, somehow this fight will end. There will be no decision in this fight. There will be a KO. . . He said he's going to stand with me in the Sun (newspaper in England). He promised English fans he would not shoot. He's lying or kidding himself. Because the first time I touch him even with a jab, he's going to go oh my god, and then he's going to try and take me down. If he does take me down, I'll stand back up. If he lets me get on top, I'll knock him out grounding and pounding him. That's how it's going to end.

And as far as my fans, I just want everybody to know that I really appreciate everything that everybody's done as far as supporting me. All of the emails I've gotten I've personally written back and answered all of them. I appreciate everything. Keep supporting me and the best is yet to come. Marcus, I really appreciate you taking the time. Hopefully I'll get to talk to you again in the future.

MD: Alright. Take care.

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