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Bellator 154's Phil Davis: 'I'm not cocky, definitely confident' ahead of King Mo fight

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Bellator 154: "Davis vs. King Mo" will take place this Saturday night (May 14, 2016) at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., where "Mr. Wonderful" Phil Davis will put his No. 1 contender status on the line against Muhammad "King Mo" Lawal. The winner will face 205-pound champion Liam McGeary sometime later this year.

Davis won the Bellator 142: "Dynamite 1" tournament in Sept. 2015, but he faced Francis Carmont instead of Lawal, who had to withdraw from the tournament finals because of a rib injury suffered earlier that night. In other words, Bellator 154's main event gives fight fans the match that should have happened at the exact same venue in the same city about nine months ago.

Lawal puts his seven-fight win streak on the line, but Davis risks losing a chance at McGeary he already earned. Why would Davis tempt fate instead of waiting until McGeary heals up from his injuries? We find out today in this interview for, but not before Davis speaks on the untimely, tragic passing of Jordan Parsons.

"Aww man. You know he trained out of Alliance in San Diego for about a year-and-a-half, maybe a year or so before he went down to South Florida. I'm good friends with him and he'll be missed and remembered. It's just no good all the way around."

As the mixed martial arts (MMA) community continues its outpouring of support for Parsons and his family, we turn our attention to his fight with Lawal, which Davis has no doubt it's the right move to make as opposed to a sit and wait.

"Taking a risk in a fighting a guy who's top in the weight class -- I mean listen, this is what I do. I love to do it, it's my fun (and) it's my passion, and it's also my job. I'm ready to get in there with anybody. I do want that Bellator belt, I'm gonna get to that here shortly, but right now why not go ahead and beat up King Mo?"

The risk, though, is that Lawal could turn the tables, beat up "Mr. Wonderful" and walk away having taken Davis' place in the line of contenders. Rust may be an even bigger risk though, which is the reason Davis won't just chill.

"Yeah -- no thanks! I'll stay active."

Another thing Davis won't do is take any lip from Lawal when he says Davis is cocky and overconfident.

"I don't think I'm cocky. I definitely think I'm confident, and I definitely know that he's capable of knocking somebody out. Do I think that person's me? No. No I don't think so -- not today. He's good. He's got hands! But I've fought the 'Who's Who' of guys that have good hands so, y'know, I've read that scary story and the good guy wins at the end."

Career wins over Glover Teixeira and Lyoto Machida, among others, back up that statement; however, Davis also scoffed at the notion Lawal thinks he's a superior wrestler and not a threat to him style-wise.

"You're kidding me, right? A guy who never wrestled a match in his life (in Linton Vassell) took him down in Bellator 'Dynamite 1' (and) he's British for crying out loud. British! And he didn't just take him down ... he skied him!!"

Lawal wound up flying the unfriendly skies at least once in round two, but he also out-struck Vassell en route to a unanimous decision. He would have advanced if not for injury, but Davis is still unimpressed given that he pulled out of the finals.

"When 'King Mo' couldn't fight, Linton Vassell busted up eye and everything, he was ready to fight. No doubt about it (though) a bruised rib or a broken rib whatever the case may be -- it hurts! I'm not trying to say he wasn't hurt -- no he was hurt! But, I also know Linton Vassell got beat up and he was ready to rock."

No matter how you look at it, their fight this weekend feels like a long, simmering beef about who the better man is. And a result, once and for all, is about to be served.

"Definitely. It's definitely the fight that should've happened and it didn't happen, so I'm glad it's happening."

Oddly, Davis sounded just as excited about Sergei Kharitonov being added to the card as the co-main event as he is about his showdown with Lawal.

"Oh man! Man it's almost too good. I'm going to be watching that fight in the locker room. I gotta get warmed up and I'm gonna watch that! A lot of the times I'm as much of a fan of the sport as a lot of the people watching, and so when you hear of a fight like that man I'm going to be busy but I also want to watch that fight!"

When the lights go down for the main event though all eyes will turn to "Mr. Wonderful" and "King Mo," though the latter seems to think the former owes pro wrestling legend "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff some compensation.

"Okay! Well then, I owe Paul Orndorff {*chuckling*} whatever he owes the people of his country or whatever kingdom he is the king of. You know we might have to find Paul Orndorff and have him knight me with the 'Wonderful' name just to put all the naysayers to rest."

Professional wrestlers and fighters do some whacky stuff together, so anything is possible, but if he wants a king to knight him call on Harley Race instead. When all the talking is done, though, Davis wants to "crown" Lawal ... and not in the manner to which he is accustomed.

"Yes sir. This is an entertainment business, and I like to entertain with my hands. You know I talk a lot but I'm part Italian so I talk with my hands, you know what I'm saying?"

Complete audio of our interview is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.


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