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Injured Phil Davis Still Wanted to Go Through With Rashad Evans Fight

The UFC found out about Phil Davis' knee injury last week, and soon broke the glass on its emergency backup plans. Even before they knew the extent of Davis' knee problems, they reached out to two fighters about possibly replacing him. One of them -- Lyoto Machida -- said yes, then changed his mind. The other -- Tito Ortiz -- said no, then agreed to step in.

But according to UFC president Dana White, all of it wouldn't have been necessary if it was up to Davis, who wanted to remain in the UFC 133 main event against Rashad Evans regardless of his knee issues.

"Let me tell you this: Phil Davis 100 percent still wanted this fight," he said. "And I'm like, there's no way, kid."

White said the injury, the extent of which was later revealed in an MRI, would not allow Davis to kickbox for nearly three weeks. While he was able to do some training, White pulled him from the match for a pair of reasons.

"What if he starts full training again and fully blows it out and gets hurt?," he said. "Now, he's going to be out for God knows how long, and we just lost the main event a week before the fight."

The other factor was Davis' youth in the game. The 26-year-old is a perfect 9-0, and White saw no reason to put him in an important, high-pressure match when he was nowhere close to being full strength.

"Why would I want to do that to a young, up-and-coming kid?" he said.

White could not recall the exact injury diagnosis, but said it was either a sprain or strain that wouldn't sideline Davis long. And when Davis returns, it will be in a similar situation as the one he just left. According to White, Davis can expect his next bout to be against a top 10 light-heavyweight.

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