BALTIMORE — Phil Davis is fighting Anthony Johnson on Saturday at UFC 172, but you wouldn’t know it if you were at media day Thursday at Camden Yards. Like the media conference call Monday, Davis spent more time focusing on UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones than Johnson.
It started from the moment Davis walked into the room. He turned the sign with Jones’ name on it upside down and posed for a picture with it. Then he spent the next hour humorously tearing Jones down, calling him a chicken and scared. To cap it off, when Jones was set to square off with his actual opponent Glover Teixeira, Davis jokingly got into his face for a faux square off.
To anyone who knew Davis before this week, this was a pretty odd performance. Almost Chael Sonnen-like in nature. A reporter asked if this was a new Davis or a Davis the public was never shown before.
"Semantics," Davis said. "Is it the new guy? The old guy? The guy you never knew? I don’t know. Is it the guy I was told to be? Is it the guy in a book I read? Is it a guy I saw on TV?"
UFC president Dana White said last week that he didn’t feel like Davis was hungry, because unlike other guys ranked in the top five of a division, Davis was not blowing up his phone asking for a title shot. White said it didn’t seem like Davis was interested in a fight with Jones at all.
"The guys who really want s*** ask for s***, come after me, don’t stop," White said Thursday. "It seems like whenever I reach out to Davis, he’s like, ‘Eh, I’ll take my time, I’m young.’ It just doesn’t seem like a guy who’s ranked in the top five [is] that hungry."
White hasn’t been privy to Davis’ latest antics, including his bashing of Jones on the media conference call Monday. On the call, he said Alexander Gustafsson hit Jones in the eye so many times, he made him look like a pirate. Davis kept up that tact Thursday, saying the only way Jones would actually fight him is in the UFC video game.
"He needs to learn that I will soon be the champ, so he probably should either just give it to me, which would be the easiest thing, or just fight me and he can give it to me that way," Davis said. "But probably the easier way would be to just give it up. Walk over here and give me the belt and say, ‘You know what Phil? Honestly I’m scared. I’m just going to give you the belt.’ That’s the easiest way to go about it."
Davis, 29, said he can easily individualize ripping on Jones and fighting Johnson on Saturday.
"I’m fine talking trash about old skinny legs Jones and getting in there and beating up Anthony Johnson," Davis said. "It’s completely separate. When I get in there, it’s all sport, no talk. It’s all fun. No games. All fun. I hate games. I quit school because of recess."
Davis might have been a little funnier than he was Monday, but when asked about him, Jones was dismissive. The champion said Davis is "biting off a pretty big piece" and he has a few wins to go before he can become a true challenger.
"I don’t take him serious," Jones said. "I look at him like a nagging cousin just pulling on my shirt. Buzz off."