While Phil Davis’ solid rather than scintilating performance against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira may temper some people’s expectations that he’s the man to beat the new light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, defeating a big name veteran of the sport like this in only his ninth professional fight is still an impressive accomplishment.
So what should the UFC do with Davis next?
It’s clear that Davis is still developing his overall skill-set so I don’t think there’s any rush to throw him into the title mix just yet. Defeating someone of Nogueira’s stature does place him comfortably in the upper half of the 205lb division though.
I think a fight with the winner of UFC 132’s Ryan Bader vs Tito Ortiz fight (I’m guessing Bader is the far more likely option) would be a solid step sideways for him.
Alternatively, Rich Franklin is currently without an opponent, and like Lil Nog this evening, testing himself against another experienced veteran like ‘Ace’ could only be good for his development.
Personally I think Davis should still be at least three fights away from title contention, and if the UFC really want to take it slowly with the wrestler then I wouldn’t be adverse to him being put in with someone like Luiz Cane who is coming off a good win and is better than his 4-3 record in the UFC would suggest.