It's not much of a secret anymore that Marcus Davis has great hands. The former boxer developed a respectable submission game to keep up with the UFC Joneses, and in doing so, has been more able to use his fighting base in the still-young sport.
With questions of his viability as a complete fighter long behind, Davis has found himself looking for fights that will cement his legacy as a boxer who found greatness in MMA.
"I always talk about who's the best fight for me to showcase me being able to throw punches and take a punch, and just get down and nasty, and have one of those fights that's going to go down like (Marvin) Hagler and (Thomas) Hearns, or EvanderHolyfield and RiddickBowe, the tenth round of their first fight," Davis said. "I want to have one of those."
His meeting with Mike Swick at UFC 85 fell short of its potential to be a classic, though both fighters were physically not 100 percent. Unsatisfied, he immediately began looking for another fight that would deliver on its promise.
One fighter that immediately stuck out was Chris Lytle. The two had often spoken at UFC events, and had agreed a meeting in the Octagon would be "fight of the night" material. So, they hatched a plan to make it happen at UFC 89.
"We were talking and the idea was that originally I was going to fight second, and he was going to fight before me," Davis said of the UFC 89 plans. "Either I was going to call him out or he was going to call me out. Then they switched it. When I told my management I was going to call out Lytle, they were like, 'don't call him out now. If he doesn't win his fight and you call him out before, it will look stupid because you're calling out the loser.'"
But Lytle kept up with his end of the bargain, winning a hard-fought decision over former Davis foe Paul Kelly. On the mic afterwards, Lytle made the plea for a fight with "The Irish Hand Grenade."
The UFC must have been in on the conspiracy too, because two weeks later it was a done deal. Davis and Lytle would meet on Jan. 17 in Dublin, Ireland at UFC 93.
Davis says it's the right time and place for his dream fight.
"I used to always think it might have been Gomi, because he's so flat footed, and he just likes to throw bombs," he explains. "But because of Chris Lytle and his style recently of just banging with everybody, I think that this is the fight. This is the fight that's going to be in my backyard, not his backyard, (and) that's where I'm hoping it's going to be one of the best fights ever in UFC history."
Davis is currently in Boston, training with his team at Sityodtong, and says he's pacing himself to peak correctly for Lytle. In the next few weeks, he will move to North Carolina for the UFC's "Fight for the Troops" event at Fort Bragg, and then to Las Vegas for more training. After another pick-up at Sityodtong before the fight, he'll be off to his native land of Ireland.
And don't think Davis' plan with Lytle will keep him from going for blood.
"I don't know if you would call it a conspiracy, because trust me, I'm going to try to knock him out," Davis said.