Phil Davis has not even been in the UFC for two years. The national champion wrestler for Penn State fought for the first time in February of 2010, earning a decision over Brian Stann. Less than two years later, he will challenge Rashad Evans as the main event on network television at UFC on Fox 2.
For Davis, that journey meant using every day to improve on his game. He talked to Cagewriter about how much his style has evolved in the past year.
"I've been working on refining my technique, learning more technique. At that point, I hadn't really discovered my style yet. I had my skill set, things I was good at, things I wasn't good at, but I didn't really have a style yet. So now I feel more comfortable in my style and what I'm capable of doing."
Though he is comfortable with that style, he struggled to find the words to describe it.
"Well ... I don't know. My practice style is typically not what you're going to see on a fight day. It's hard to characterize my style that you're actually going to see when you step into the cage. I'm a finisher. I haven't done a ton of it inside the Octagon, but I'm confident that I'll get some more finishes."
On Jan. 28, he'll want to show that finishing style against Evans. When Davis was still winning college wrestling matches, Evans had a career in the UFC. They both come from Big 10 wrestling programs, and Davis admits that he did look up to Evans.
"I looked up to Rashad. I always rooted for him because he was a wrestler in the Big 10, and he was fighting, and it was a new frontier for wrestlers. I've always cheered for him. Now, fighting someone I looked up to and cheered for, it's exciting. I remember what that's like to wrestle my first really good guy. The fact that he was in the UFC when I was still in college and watching him on TV, it's exciting that I've reached this level so soon in my career."
Though Evans has the advantage in experience, Davis is confident that he has what it takes to derail Evans' chance at getting another crack at the UFC light heavyweight belt.
"I got my skill set that I'm good with, and the same is still true now. Time doesn't necessarily equate to skill or talent. He definitely is experienced, and that's a different category in and of itself. What he brings to the table in experience, but I think I make up for it in other areas."