(Demonstrating one half of his stand-and-bang plan.)
If you’re an MMA fan with access to the internet (and the fact that you’re reading this means you’re at least one of those things), chances are you’ve heard about Marcus Davis’ big plans for his fight with Chris Lytle at UFC 93 this Saturday. Davis, or as he’s known around here, Mr. Hand Grenade, has made no secret of the fact that he’d like this bout to be contested on the feet. He also thinks it has the potential to be one of the all-time great battles of MMA, which is why he’s been trying to make it happen for months now.
At long last, he got his wish, and in this candid talk he tells us all about how this situation came about and why he thinks you’re going to like what you see when he steps into the Octagon with Chris Lytle this Saturday.
CagePotato.com: Okay, Marcus. I think a lot of people are wondering about some of the stuff you’ve said about this “gentlemen’s agreement” between you and Chris to stand and fight on the feet. Where did that come from, and do you really think you’ll both stick to it?
I think everybody is a little confused on this. There wasn’t any real agreement. It’s just that we’ve both talked about wanting to have exciting fights and bang it out. I think people are assuming it’s an agreement. Basically, Chris Lytle and I started talking, I think after he fought Thiago Alves, about how if we ever fought each other it would be a great fight. When the time came that he was going to fight Paul Taylor and I was going to fight Paul Kelly, we were talking about calling each other out in order to make it happen. I was going to call him out because I thought I was fighting after him. Then they switched it so I was fighting before him, so it wouldn’t have made much sense for me to call him out, in case he lost.
But what made it all snowball was that I said, jokingly, in a couple of interviews, ‘the first guy to take it to the ground is a pussy.’ It was supposed to be a joke, but I think a lot of people took it seriously. The way I’m looking at it, though, it’s an MMA fight. It takes place wherever it takes place. I’m sure we’re going to hit the ground at some point. But the big thing is we’re planning on putting on our best performance and bringing out the best in the other guy.
It’s like a dance. If one person is a great dancer and the other person isn’t, it’s going to look like crap. But if you have two people who know what they’re doing, that can be a beautiful thing to watch. That’s what I’m hoping for.
Building it up in this way, don’t you think that puts added pressure on you guys to fight a specific type of fight, trying for this legendary outcome?
So what made you think that the two of you together would be the perfect recipe for this great fight?
The fact that he’s never been knocked out or submitted. His style is to bite down on his mouthpiece, come forward, and throw bombs. That will compliment my style, I think. I try to use a lot of movement, set up my hard shots and then sit down on them. But with Chris, he’s going to be relentless. He’ll never give me a break.
It won’t be like it was with Paul Kelly, where I was able to move all around him and keep Paul flat-footed and making him follow me. Chris is going to be in my face the whole time. I think it’s going to be a fight that people talk about not just at the water cooler the next day, but a year or two down the road.
Do you really think you can plan a fight like that just based on those styles?
No, what needs to happen is you get two guys with those kind of styles, but they also both have to show up in great shape, with no injuries, and they’ve both got to be able to go out there and express themselves to the fullest. Just let it all go and not hold back. I’m training to go and let it all hang out. I know Chris is too. That’s his style, lately anyways. He didn’t do it in the Matt Serra fight, but he learned his lesson in that fight. I think with me he’s going to come after me and I’ll be there waiting.
What if you go out there and one of you catches a hard shot in the first minute and just like that it’s over?
Well, that would be unfortunate [laughs]. Especially after all the build-up. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I just don’t. He’s very durable and he’s going to be able to take most of what I can give him, and I can take what he can dish out. If I haven’t stopped him, then I know I’m going to be there by the third round.
What do you think you really have to be careful of against Chris?
He’s really good at crushing people up against the cage and he does this kind of ear-slap thing that’s kind of annoying but it gets people to open up. When they do he comes down the middle with something. I know exactly what he likes to do because I’ve watched so much tape on him. He throws big, big punches. Everything he throws he throws with bad intentions. And he’s got a great guard. A lot of people don’t realize that, but he’s super flexible, he can open his hips and he has a really dangerous guard.
I know you’re very proud of your Irish heritage. What does it mean for you to get this fight you’ve been hoping for, and also get it in Dublin?
It means everything. It was cool that I was able to fight in Belfast and kind of fulfill my dream in that way. But to really experience Ireland, people say you got to go to Dublin. My family’s originally from about 100 miles north of Dublin, on the coast in Waterford, so it’s a big deal for me. I have a lot of fans out there. I think people are going to be surprised how many people really do embrace me in Ireland.
Where do you think it leaves you in the UFC’s welterweight division if you win this?
I don’t know where it leaves me. That’s the UFC’s decision. I’m hoping it leaves me in line for another exciting fight. Chris and I are a lot alike as fighters, as far as what we want in our careers, and then we’re also both alike as people. We both have four kids, we both come from a boxing background, we’re the same kind hardworking guy, and we both have an underrated ground game. We both also want the kind of fights that people will remember rather than to just win at all costs, even if it’s boring. We want action-packed fights.
It seems like you know Chris pretty well.
Well, it’s not like we’ve hung out a bunch of times. But we’ve been at the same events through the UFC, we’ve talked a few times, we worked out in a hotel together before and talked for a while. We both chatted in a hotel lobby about this fight and how much we both wanted it. We each said to each other, ‘Make sure you win so we can make this happen.’
It’s not like I’m going over to his house and having dinner, but I like the guy. Somebody actually just emailed me and said, “I want to talk about the bad blood between you and Chris Lytle.” I have no idea what he’s talking about. I’ve never had any bad blood with Chris.
You just want to go out and smash his face for three rounds, even though you like him.
I have no problem with that at all. Some of the most brutal matches I’ve been in are in the gym with my best friends. You get in there with your sparring partners, your friends, and you just go. Some of the worst fights I’ve ever been in where with my brother, who I love dearly. We got into some nasty fights. So I have absolutely no problem punching someone who I like as hard as I can and as many times as I can. Fighters are just different. It’s like a bonding thing. After this fight Chris and I will probably hug it out or shake hands and go hang out somewhere together.