Phil Davis is no longer a UFC fighter. The light-heavyweight star has been unveiled as a major new signing for Bellator, penning a multi-fight deal with the promotion.
The 30 year-old, known as ‘Mr Wonderful’, was ranked at No.7 in the UFC’s light-heavyweight rankings, but had lost two of his last three fights, getting dominated by Anthony Johnson in April of last year and then losing out by split decision to Ryan Bader in January of 2015.
While Dana White had been critical of Davis in recent times, claiming that he lacked the ambition to become a champion, there was no indication that the promotion had been looking to release him.
However, Davis’ contract with the UFC expired in January and it appears as though he’s taken full advantage of his free agent status to secure himself the best deal possible for the next stage in his career, and the more lucrative offer seems to have come from Bellator.
Financially it might be the best option for Davis who was only being paid $30,000 to show and $30,000 to win in the UFC, but perhaps not so much from a competitive standpoint for a man who just a couple of years ago was considered a potential opponent for Jon Jones.
Still, it’s undoubtedly a move that will strengthen Bellator’s ranks and they are excited by the potential match-ups they have in mind for their major new signing.
“Phil is a world class Mixed Martial Artist and we are very happy to be adding him to OUR roster of some of the best Light Heavyweights in the world,” Bellator president Scott Coker stated. “Bellator remains fully committed to building its world-class roster by signing top free agents like Davis, as well as grooming up-and-coming stars. We’ve got some amazing matchups in mind for ‘Mr. Wonderful’ that we will be announcing in the weeks to come.”
The most obvious fights to make at this stage would be against former UFC star Tito Ortiz and newly crowned champion Liam McGarry, while Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal would be an interesting match-up.
Regardless of who he faces, With a 13-3 (1nc) record and experience fighting some of the top ranked 205lb’ers in the world, Davis is confident that he’s going to be the new dominant force in Bellator’s light-heavyweight division.
“I can’t wait to be fighting in Bellator and wreck shop on everyone,” Davis said. “I am the absolute best and most dominant grappler to ever fight in MMA and I’m excited to get in there and compete at my new home.”