UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Phil Davis likes the challenges that lie ahead – both old and new.
In the main event of Bellator 245 on Friday, Davis (21-5 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) will face an old foe, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. The two fighters fought in August 2013 at UFC 163 but Davis isn’t viewing their second meeting as a true rematch.
“So much time has passed,” Davis told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “You’re not really getting a true rematch because he’s not going to come out the same style and plan. I’m a very much different fighter than (the one) he fought the last time. He’s just another guy – another great fighter. It’s another good fight.”
Davis won the first fight by unanimous decision. So what’s his incentive for a second fight? Whether he considers this a rematch or not, whether he won the first meeting or not – Davis said the scenario doesn’t matter. Fighting a legend will never lose its appeal to Davis.
“He’s a legend in the sport,” the former Bellator light heavyweight champ said. “You take every opportunity to fight a guy like him. Just having a win over him doesn’t mean I don’t really want to fight him. I’m actually absolutely down to fight a big name in the sport no matter what.”
Beyond an old matchup in Machida, Davis is enthused by recent changes at 205 pounds. Newly crowned Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov fought Davis in 2018. Nemkov defeated Davis by split decision, and he’d like to give it another go.
“I can’t wait to tangle with him again,” Davis said. “I’m pretty sure he knows he got the ‘W,’ and not take anything away from that, it was a very narrow victory. That fight was just razor thin. He got his hand raised and when you come out with a narrow victory like that, especially when you’re one of the two guys at the top, you know that one is coming back.”
Bellator also recently added Corey Anderson to its roster, a top-five fighter in the UFC rankings at his time of signing. Davis doesn’t need convincing to be interested in that one either.
“When I see guys like him in any organization, he’s a guy you keep your eye on,” Davis said. “You know who’s good. You just try to do your best to tune into all those guys’ fights. He’s one of those guys. He’s still getting better. … If Corey Anderson bringing in fresh blood is going to add a lot more heat to the stew we’re already cooking, it’s good, man.”
Bellator 245 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card simulcasts on Paramount Network and DAZN after prelims on MMA Junkie.