UFC Contender Phil Davis Fighting an Extra Variable

Erik FontanezCorrespondent INovember 2, 2011

Photo by Jeff Cain. Used courtesy of MMAWeekly.com
Photo by Jeff Cain. Used courtesy of MMAWeekly.com

UFC light heavyweight contender Phil Davis knows just as much about when he will return to the Octagon as everyone else.

And, like the rest of the world, he doesn't know.

The 205-pound contender sustained a knee injury earlier this year and hasn't seen action in the Octagon since besting Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC Fight Night in March.

Had it not been for the injury, Davis would have fought Rashad Evans at UFC 133 in Philadelphia.

Fortunately for the Penn State alum, his recovery is going smoothly, and the pain from the injury is low.

"(The recovery) is actually coming along really great, minimal pain," Davis told B/R last week. "It's like any pain when you have an injury, you have a little scar tissue building up, and I think I just have minimal scar tissue and…inflammation. It's just really come along quite well."

After more follow-ups with physicians, fans will have a clearer picture of when they can anticipate Davis' comeback.

With no fights lined up, the waiting game alone is becoming something to battle, according to "Mr. Wonderful."

The knee that's keeping Davis out of the Octagon is symbolic of an opposing fighter negotiating a contract with the UFC. Essentially, it's the last component holding up a fight from becoming official because it's just not ready.

"It's almost like an injury becomes a third fighter," Davis said. "It's not necessarily [about] when I'm ready or when my opponent's ready; it's when my knee is ready. 

Photo by Scott Peterson. Used courtesy of MMAWeekly.com.
Photo by Scott Peterson. Used courtesy of MMAWeekly.com.

"I now have an extra variable [as to] when I can fight."

The knee hasn't kept the San Diego resident out of the gym, however. The recovery has allowed for light sparring sessions to keep the fighter's tools sharp while he anticipates his return.

His coach at Alliance MMA, Eric Del Fierro, says the 205-pounder's progress has been good, but going full-speed isn't an option yet. Bringing Davis back to the grind at an easy pace is working well for now.

"He's doing good. He is slowly getting back into training," Del Fierro said of his fighter. "He is doing pad work with me. Nothing live yet."

Recently, before his injury had ample time to heal, UFC president Dana White was ready to get Davis back into the Octagon. The boss said Davis was slated to fight Lyoto Machida in the main event for UFC 140.

Unfortunately, with that card creeping in up December, Davis' knee won't be prepared for the Toronto headliner.

The announcement was pulled back by White about an hour later, admitting that he jumped the gun when talking about the proposed bout. The situation made waves for a moment, and Davis wasn't even aware of it until after the dust settled.

"The whole situation was over and done with before I had even…heard about it," he said.

"I was like, 'Phil Davis is fighting? That's me!'"

With as much excitement as Davis has created with his Octagon performances, people are eager to see him come back and fight soon. The UFC president is one of those people, according to the Alliance MMA fighter.

"I think Dana White, like anybody else, is anxious to have me back in there," he said. "I want to be back in there, too."

Everyone is longing to see Davis return.


Erik Fontanez is a senior writer and reporter for MMAWeekly.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @Erik_Fontanez