With Phil Davis' hard earned victory against the always crafty Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, at the UFC Fight Night 24 MMA event; Davis is starting to solidify his place in the light-heavyweight division.
Davis came into the sport of MMA, with the same background many successful full-contact fighters have come from. Davis' accomplishments as a NCAA wrestler, indicates the 26 year old MMA fighter has what it takes to compete against other top athletes.
One of the things that impressed me about Phil Davis, watching his UFC fight night 24 match against Nogueira was his willingness to strike. For someone who came into MMA from wrestling, Davis has really developed a lot of confidence in his striking skills. Even when Nogueira surprisingly stuffed Davis' takedown attempts in the first round, he never panicked.
The fact that Davis wasn't worried about being on the ground with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira during their UFC fight night 24 MMA match was another good indicator of how far Davis' skills have come. Avoiding the ground game in a fight against anyone named Nogueira is always a smart game plan, yet Davis' was able to dive into the crafty veteran's world and come out unharmed.
If there was anything about Davis' performance in the UFC fight night 24 match against Nogueira that bothered me, it would be the fact that he took so long to eventually get his opponent to the ground. Given the fact that Davis actually won a championship as a NCAA wrestler, along with his four all-American awards, I would expect him to have no problems getting anyone to the ground. While I give Davis a little bit of slack, given the fact that he was fighting a Nogueira, his takedowns will probably need some improvement if he wants to continue climbing the light-heavyweight ladder.
Whether Davis will ever become the UFC light-heavyweight champion is really hard to tell at this point. While Davis has certain similarities to the current UFC light-heavyweight champion, he has already showed a few flaws, while Jon Jones is yet to show any.