Bantamweight Alexis Davis will make her UFC debut against Rosi Sexton on Saturday, June 15, at UFC 161. I caught up with her recently, and here is what she had to say about Sexton and finally competing in the top MMA organization in the world:
How does it feel to be part of the UFC?
Davis: It feels pretty good, of course. It hasn't really hit me yet. I imagine that it won't hit me until I'm there or actually walking out. It seeps in little by little. When they first called me, they kinda just said, "We're just going to push everybody who was signed with Zuffa over to the UFC." I was like, "Yeah, that's really cool!"
I didn't quite believe it, you know? And then they sent me the new contract, and I was like, "Oh my God, this is it!" But it took forever for me to find out when I was getting a fight, so I was sitting on my hands. When they had the Rousey-Carmouche fight, they flew [Sara] McMann, [Miesha] Tate, Cat Zingano, and me to the press conference, and I got to watch the fights. That was really cool. Finally, I got my fight, and I can enter the octagon, so it's a great experience.
Does it feel like you're fighting at home in Winnipeg even though you're from Ontario?
Davis: It does feel like it's almost my hometown. Obviously, Toronto would be closer to my hometown, but Winnipeg is where my fight career got started - it's where I had my debut. This is my third time back there, so it's weird. I haven't fought in Canada in a long time. It's a good vibe to have. Maybe it's just because I'm a Canadian, it's always a good vibe when I'm in Canada.
Your opponent, Rosi Sexton, has been competing for a long time, and it's also her UFC debut. How are you preparing for her, and where are you expecting the fight to go?
Davis: This is a good fight for me. We probably all say this, but I had a really good camp. Even in my last two fights, everything seems to be coming together for me. I'm finding that balance. Anyone who knows me or trains with me knows that I'm an over-trainer. I train too much, and you get injuries and you get stressed out. I think I found that balance for myself.
This is something that I definitely have to watch for because I watched a lot of her [Sexton's] fights, and she's like the energizer bunny. She's got endless cardio, and obviously she's going to push and push, so I have to be sure that I train hard and train smart.
You mentioned Sexton's cardio. How are you preparing for her? And how does your game match up with her game?
Davis: I don't think I've ever seen her get tired in any of the fights she's ever had. Our styles are similar, but obviously I think we fight a bit differently. We both like ground, but I think I have the advantage. I especially have the advantage size-wise. I imagine it's going to be hard for her to come up a weight class.
Never underestimate your opponent. There's a point in MMA when you have to expect the unexpected. You never how she's going come out or what she's going to pull out. She's a black belt in Taekwondo, so I obviously have a lot to watch for. It looks like she's been working on her wrestling lately, and that's what I've been working with a lot too, so I think it's going to be a good fight. We match up pretty well. She's an aggressive fighter, so hopefully we'll put on a good show.
What does a win over Sexton do for your career?
Davis: I think it'll be good. Obviously, this is my debut, so any win in my career, especially for the UFC, is something that will help me get recognized or noticed. Any win is great, and obviously, we're all striving for that title, and it's helping me get one step closer to it.
How have you evolved as a mixed martial artist?
Davis: When I first started, mind you, it was only about a month and a half before [I] got started with jiu-jitsu. Kickboxing - I started with my stand-up. It was just a cardio workout I kinda got into - it wasn't until a couple other females in the gym pushed me: "Come to jiu-jitsu class with us. You'll really like it." And I did - totally fell in love with it. It's a transition to boxing, and I did some Muay Thai, amateur fights, jiu-jitsu tournaments.
I think regardless of what style you prefer - I mean, some people obviously prefer straight jiu-jitsu or taekwondo, karate, or whatnot - you should be able to try bits and pieces of those styles to see if you can find what you really like. I was able to try different styles and train with a lot of different people, and it's kind of transitioned me into MMA. It became an addiction. I'm constantly - they couldn't get rid of me at the gym. They always made fun of me. They're like, "We want to close for the holidays, but oh, we'll have to kill Alexis so she won't be able to train." I'd be the one in there on Christmas training.
As a woman, you're in a unique situation. You're in the prime of your MMA career, but it's also the prime time for many women to build a family and have children. Do you have plans for that, or is there a timeline for how long you want to compete before having children?
I can honestly say that ever since I was an early age, I've always wanted kids. I'm in a serious relationship right now - I mean, we're to the point where we're looking at rings and stuff like that - but he's got kids of his own, and it's a lot to take on, especially with training. It's rewarding as well. I don't have a perfect timeline. I have a lot of goals that I want to accomplish over the next couple of years. I want to get that belt; I want to defend it. Then we're going to look forward to moving on.
What has been the best moment of your career thus far?
Davis: For me, it's my last two fights. I feel like I've grown so much; I've developed the fighter's mindset. I'm able to see things differently. I know when I have to move and what I have to do. It's taken me awhile to develop, but I think that training out in California has made my style grow. I've been able to develop so much more since I've been out here. If you look at the difference between the Kaufman fight and my last two fights, I feel more comfortable in my body.
What has been the most difficult moment of your career? Or who is the most difficult opponent you've faced?
Probably, I would think Kaufman. That's a first in my career, having two losses to Kaufman, and feeling as a fighter that I have the skills and that I can beat her. That's probably been the most difficult part of my career, having that second loss to Sarah Kaufman.
I'm guessing you're hoping to get another shot at her some time down the line?
We'll see what happens. Obviously, I like fighting different fighters as well, but it's kind of a small group compared to the men's division. But it's obviously something down the road I would look forward to. I'm gonna have to see how our careers end up intertwining or whatnot.
You can follow Alexis Davis on Twitter @AlexisDavisMMA
Source: Personal Interview
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Rosi Sexton