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.
Davis fights Muhammed Lawal this Saturday May, 14 at Bellator 154 in San Jose Cali.
You can listen to the full interview below, as well as interviews with Rick Story, Josh Appelt, and Ian Butler.
*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.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Wine and dine. Dana White says he and Conor McGregor will have dinner next week and move past their issues.
TUF still going. Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Uh-oh. Frank Mir reveals the B sample in his USADA test also came back positive.
Not gonna happen. Dana White tells Floyd Mayweather to call him if he wants to fight Conor McGregor.
She's not surprised. Cyborg says she isn't surprised that Holly Holm turned down UFC 198 fight.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Get out now. Andreas Hale of Sherdog suggests that now may be the opportune moment for Zuffa to actually sell the UFC.
Free fights. Garbrandt does a great job of getting the stoppage late in the fight.
Dana White with Colin Cowherd.
Forrest and Rockhold surprise a fan.
I enjoyed this.
Joe Lauzon makes an appearance.
The best 5 minutes of your day right here.
UFC sale talk.
More sale talk and McGregor-Mayweather.
That's a good fight. Brunson is scheduled for Mousasi at 200 though.
Yo I can make it to Brazil by Friday what's up @danawhite @UriahHallMMA— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) May 11, 2016
Several guys were trying to get that BJ fight when Siver pulled out.
@bjpenndotcom If you let me fight you I will donate 50% of my purse to charity...Lets have a fight and help those in need!!! @ufc #Legend— Artem Lobov (@RusHammerMMA) May 11, 2016
Who'd like to see new breed vs old school, i hear @bjpenndotcom is looking for a new opponent, @UFC i'll fill in.— Jake Matthews (@JakeMatthewsUFC) May 11, 2016
Because it is glorious.
For some reason I get requests to post this picture all the time so here you go pic.twitter.com/xcVSrR43Ts— Ilir Latifi (@Latifimma) May 11, 2016
This is what a fighter looks like after getting his but kicked by a mosquito (malaria)... @joerogan @BrendanSchaubpic.twitter.com/xdzaUjFfEr— Justin Wren MMA (@TheBigPygmy) May 10, 2016
We haven't checked in on Sage lately.
Perfect day to wash the Tundra pic.twitter.com/Ls6LgjtrZg— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) May 11, 2016
Weidman looks a little leaner.
Such a genuinely nice guy.
The next evolution of touch butt in the park.
BJ Penn (16-10-2) vs. Cole Miller (21-9-0); UFC 199, June 4.
Joseph Benavidez (24-4-0) vs. Henry Cejudo (10-1-0); UFC: The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale, December 3.
Pat Healy (33-21-0, 1 NC) vs. Gesias Cavalcante (19-8-1, 2 NC); Titan FC 39, June 10.
Dhiego Lima (11-4-0) vs. David Michaud (9-2-0); Titan FC 39, June 10.
Czar Sklavos (12-4-0) vs. Chico Camus (15-7-0, 1 NC); RFA 40, July 15.
Marvin Blumer (11-5-0) vs. Terrion Ware (14-5-0); RFA 40, July 15.
Chase Waldon (9-1-0) vs. Austen Heidlage (10-1-0); RFA 40, July 15.
Dan Moret (10-2-0) vs. Alex Gilpin (5-0-0); RFA 40, July 15.
Chad Curry (0-1-0) vs. Carl Wittstock (6-1-0); RFA 40, July 15.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
1990: Yasuto Sekishima became the inaugural Shooto welterweight champion, defeating Yoshimasa Ishikawa via rear-naked choke.
2006: Takeshi Inoue defeated Antonio Carvalho with punches in the first round to win the vacant Shooto featherweight championship at Shooto: The Devilock.
2007: Doug Marshall successfully defended his WEC light heavyweight championship for the first time, knocking Justin McElfresh out with punches in the first round at WEC 27. Marshall gave his greatest gift to the MMA world in the post-fight interview with Frank Mir, declaring the finish was "a KD - knocked dead."
1980: UFC heavyweight Damian Grabowski
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