Shortly after Jon Jones dismantled Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128, many MMA fans pondered if there's any light heavyweight on the UFC's roster that can challenge the newly crowned 205-pound title holder.
The consensus response: Phil Davis.
A former Penn State collegiate wrestling standout, Davis was the center of attention coming into his light heavyweight tilt with Pride veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Although despite being a majority top 10 fighter in the division, it was Rogerio, not Davis, who was the underdog in the bout.
The end result was as expected - Davis earning a unanimous decision victory. However, the performance put on by "Mr. Wonderful" wasn't entirely superb.
During the first-half of the duel between Davis and Nogueira, the 2008 NCAA wrestling champion seemingly attempted takedown after takedown with no success. The failed shots were surprising, considering Davis' accolades and previous wrestling triumphs inside the octagon.
Not only was the Harrisburg, PA native not in rhythm with his wrestling, but his striking seemed off-target as well.
Although it was Davis who was throwing more kicks in the opening frame, Nogueira displayed his superior stand-up game and connected with the more clean and effective strikes.
With Davis' strength clearly being his wrestling, some may say that his striking will always be used to set-up his takedowns. Well, he tried against Rogerio, and was not as successful as he would've like to have been.
Challenging the elite in the division is certainly no easy task. And with Davis still learning the MMA craft, one may wonder if the Alliance MMA trained fighter needs a change in scenery.
Phil Davis has the potential to one day become one of the top-tier light heavyweight fighters in the sport. Still referenced as a pupil in MMA, Davis needs elite fighters/coaches around him to take him to the next level. No disrespect at all to Rogerio Nogueira, but if Phil is having that much difficulty getting him to the ground and standing up with him, imagine how it will be against the likes of Machida, Evans, Rua, and Jackson.
Alliance MMA does house many good fighters. However, are they at the elite level of gyms like A.K.A., Greg Jackson's, or A.T.T.? Does Davis even need to make a switch concerning this subject?
Chime in with thoughts/opinions.