Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

MMA fighter bides his time for a shot

Hungry for a chance to make the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a Red Deer fighter knows his chance is coming soon. The 28-year-old flyweight was on the verge of trying out for the mixed martial arts promotion, when open tryouts were abruptly cancelled.

Hungry for a chance to make the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a Red Deer fighter knows his chance is coming soon.

The 28-year-old flyweight was on the verge of trying out for the mixed martial arts promotion, when open tryouts were abruptly cancelled.

On April 5, UFC announced the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, an Ultimate Fighting Championship-run reality TV show, would be specifically for flyweight fighters, up to 56.69 kg (125 pounds), piqued the Red Deer fighter’s interest. The season of the show culminated in the winner getting a title shot. Open tryouts were planned for April 25, but on April 12 tryouts were cancelled.

Working under the assumption that tryouts were going ahead, Davis started a GoFundMe page to help him finance his dream. Within five hours he had raised more than the $2,000 he had asked for.

“I’m pretty honoured to have so much support from so many different people,” said Davis. “It’s good knowing people have faith in you.

“Local companies are sponsoring me, even fighters and Red Deerians are scrounging up $5, $10 to help. I guess they want to see another local in the UFC.”

Davis had already bought his plane ticket and hotel when he found out the season’s tryouts were cancelled. The UFC did not say the expected air date for the season had changed. Davis said it was likely tryouts had been pushed to after current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson defends his title against Henry Cejudo at UFC 197 on April 23.

“The money is still funding the whole trip,” said Davis. “I’m going down regardless. It just gives me more time.

“It gives me the opportunity to work on myself as a fighter.”

Specifically, it gives Davis a chance to polish the interviews and social media side of fighting. He said he will use this time to polish his interview skills and outreach to the general public.

When he was 11 or 12, Davis started watching the UFC. By the time he was 20 he had started fighting mixed martial arts.

He describes his style as submission wrestling, but prefers to build a well-rounded arsenal.

“I could fight anywhere, what I’ve been training for my whole life is to be well-rounded and comfortable in any situation,” said Davis. “I’ll fight any style, any way I have to.”

In his time fighting, Davis has a 12-5 record. His 18th fight is scheduled for April 22 in Calgary against Keegan Oliver, a Calgary-based fighter with a 3-4 record.

“It also lets me win this fight and maybe take on one more, with a better record it gives me a better chance of getting on,” said Davis.

“It’s happening. We were worried they were cancelling it altogether, but word is the season is happening.”

With the extra time, Davis hopes he can really work on his weight as well as strength and conditioning.

If he is successful in his tryout, he is put through the ringer of five fights in seven weeks. All competing for a title shot against whoever the current flyweight UFC champion is at the end.

“You get pretty banged up and then you do a finale and live TV,” said Davis.

“Leading up to this I’ve been training for my fight in Calgary.”

He’s been training constantly, only taking Fridays off, in preparation for his Calgary fight.

“You get tired and beat up a lot, but it’s worth every bit,” said Davis. “It’s tiring.”

The exposure afforded to someone on the show would benefit Davis.

“Even if you fight in the UFC and don’t make it your first time around, local promotions will pay you more to have you come in because of your reputation and name,” he said.

Davis moved to Red Deer from Edson about four years ago to further his mixed martial arts training, calling it the best move of his life. He trains at Arashi-Do.

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