Phil Davis thinks he has Liam McGeary shook.
Last September at Bellator 142 - Dynamite, Davis won the one night, four-man Bellator light heavyweight Grand Prix, submitting former Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton and knocking out former UFC middleweight Francis Carmont. The tournament win set Davis up for a shot at reigning 205-pound champion McGeary. Thus far, injuries to McGeary have kept the fight from happening and in the interim, Davis has opted to face Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal instead of sitting out and waiting. In anticipation of his fight this weekend, Davis spoke with Bloody Elbow about McGeary, Lawal, and why he chose to take this fight.
"All I know is, by winning Dynamite 1 I secured my No. 1 contender spot and the champion was unable to continue. He wasn't able to continue on with the fight so we had to explore some other options. That's how Mo's name got tossed into the hat.
"I know that this is the fight that the fans want to see. This is really, this is for the fans. I'm gonna beat Mo and then I'm gonna fight for the title. Whoever is still around can fight me and then I'll defend the title against them. That's how I feel about it. It doesn't matter to me. Either way I was gonna end up fighting Mo - either for a title defense or for right now - it doesn't matter to me. I'm gonna win either time."
The fight with Lawal was likely inevitable. Lawal has long been one of Bellator's biggest stars and when Davis signed with the promotion many expected them to face each other immediately. Instead Bellator opted for the tournament format and though both men won their semifinal matches, setting up the title eliminator as expected, Lawal was forced to withdraw due to injury. Now the two are finally set to fight each other with a shot at Liam McGeary's light heavyweight title on the line. But when that title fight would materialize is unknown.
"I haven't heard quiet yet when that will happen. I've really only just heard that it will happen soon."
McGeary is still recovering from surgery and has stated that Bellator's scheduled stop at the O2 Arena in London this July is too soon for him to return, so the fight would most likely happen later in the year. McGeary, who lives in New York, has expressed interest in fighting there now that MMA has been legalized and Scott Coker has stated his intention to put on a show there later in the year, perhaps at the Barclays Center. A McGeary-Davis fight could be a viable headliner or co-main event for such a card, especially if Davis can build the fight beforehand, something he has started working on already.
"I think [McGeary] knows who is next. I think he's trembling in fear right now. He probably wet his pants just hearing this interview."
But to get there, Davis first has to beat Lawal, a world class wrestler and former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion who is coming off his own tournament victory, winning the Rizin Heavyweight Grand Prix by defeating three opponents in one weekend. Though Davis was complimentary of Lawal, he seems to like his chances.
"I think he is good all the way around. I just think I'm better. It's as simple as that. He's good. He's really good. But I'm just better...Wherever Mo decides to make his mistake, that's where I'll capitalize on it. If that's standing, if that involves a takedown, if it's in the clinch, whatever. I'll take him down, I'll submit him, I'll beat him up standing. Whatever he wants. I'm an accommodating guy. I like to accommodate people any way I possibly can."
Lawal will surely appreciate Davis's convivial nature.
*Originally this article stated that Muhammed Lawal won three fights in one night at the Rizin tournament. This was incorrect. Lawal won one fight on December 29 and two fights on December 31. That error has been corrected.
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