After losing four of his last five fights and being released by the UFC, long-time fan favorite Marcus Davis could've hung up the gloves and called it a career. After all, he made himself successful outside of cage. He owns two gyms, trains and manages nine other fighters, does color commentary for three promotions, is a promoter himself and is in the process of opening a gourmet dessert company with his wife.
So why does the 37-year old Davis continue to fight? Because he loves it.
"I'm fighting because I'm still passionate about it," Davis said last week on Bloody Elbow Radio. "It's still part of me, it's who I am. I love to fight. That's why I'm taking this fight. That's why I'm going to continue to do it until my family says that's enough, it's time to hang 'em up. Right now, that's not the case. I'm still fighting."
He'll get to show that passion Friday at Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario when he faces Curtis Demarce at MFC 29: Conquer on HDNet.
Demarce, who comes in with a 10-8 record, is looking to play the spoiler against Davis, who is looking to prove he can still go.
"I get to experiment and do some things I've been working on that maybe I wouldn't feel so comfortable experimenting and working on on the stage of the UFC in the Octagon," Davis said. "I will go out there and I'm gonna have fun. I'm gonna go out there and I'm gonna experiment. He's fought some tough guys, but he hasn't fought me. He hasn't fought anybody, after looking at his record and watching his fights, that can strike like I can and I will be the biggest 155-pound guy he's ever gotten in the ring with.
"When he locks up with me, if he's telling everyone he's going to stand with me and he's going to knock me out and he's going to do this and he's going to do that, like I said, I looked at his record. He hasn't even knocked out anybody. He's won by TKO one time out of 20-whatever fights. He's not going to get in there and knock me out. He's going to try to grapple because that's what he's going to do. He's going to get beat up, he's going to get hurt. He's going to try to take me down and when he locks up with me, he's going to realize that's not going to happen. He'll be my human punching bag until this fight is over."
Although Davis said he had several offers, signing with the MFC made the most sense from a few standpoints. He didn't want to get locked into a big deal (he wants to take it a fight or two at a time), the money was good, they have a solid lightweight division and he gets the chance to gain more experience at 155 pounds.
"Trying to drop and fight in the UFC at 155 pounds, where I hadn't been for years, can be stressful to try to do it at that kind of level," Davis said. "Now I've done it once, I feel good about it and looking forward to (this fight)."
At one point, Davis was riding high in the UFC. He won eight of his first nine fights inside the Octagon. Then he lost a split decision to Dan Hardy at UFC 99, a fight that sent his UFC career into a downward spiral. After winning 8-of-9, Davis would lose four of his next five fights, including his lightweight debut at UFC 125, a knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens.
"It shouldn't be this way, but it does come down to all mental," Davis said. "As much as I like to tell everybody, 'I'm mentally strong, I'm mentally this,' there's so much pressure after you lose one fight in the UFC. If you lose one fight, and that's basically what happened, I lost that split decision to Dan Hardy and everything just went downhill for me. I got nervous, I started to second-guess everything I was doing, and when you fear and focus on, 'I might get cut,' that's usually what happens. That's because that's where your focus is and it's not in having fun, performing and doing what you need to do. Because of that, I kind of willed it to happen, I feel. There's a lot of pressure that's off my shoulders right now."
Davis spent a lot of time in the UFC. His stint started as a contestant on "The Ultimate Fighter 2" in 2005 and continued into 2011. He's leaving a lot of friends behind there, but isn't looking directly at getting back into the UFC.
"If you focus on that kind of goal, you can miss opportunity that is coming up in front of you right there, it's knocking at your door, there's opportunity there but you're ignoring it because you're focused on something else," he said.
Davis is out to have fun in his fight with Demarce. After watching a lot of tape on Demarce, Davis concluded that his opponent "couldn't even fight" two years ago. "Then all of a sudden, the last year-and-a-half, year or whatever it's been, he's really turned it around," Davis said.
For this bout, Davis said he's really put a lot of time into his wrestling, but only for defensive purposes. He said he's also focused on bringing his speed up to par for the lightweight division. Although he admits speed is important, it also "isn't really the answer."
"You can be really fast, but if you don't have timing, you're never going to hit the spot," Davis said. "Timing is the most essential part of fighting. Timing is what makes a fighter great. Look for instance at a guy like George Foreman. The guy's slow. Powerful, but very slow. There are many fighters that are like that, but he throws a punch and it hits its mark. If you lost fights because of speed, he would've lost many, many fights because everyone would've been able to avoid his punches. But he threw the punch at the right time and was able to catch people. That's where my focus is. I work on my speed, but I'm also working on my timing. That's the most essential part of fighting. You can even have crappy technique and get away with a lot of stuff because you have good timing. Right now, with my strength, being a strong '55er, I think that plays better for me because I think I'll be tougher to take down and wrestle with."
Davis says all his fights are important, but as he enters the twilight of his career, there's something missing. Even after five UFC "Fight Night" bonuses, including three Fight of the Night honors, Davis wants more.
"I still really want to have that one fight that everybody will talk about. I don't feel like I've had that," he said. "I know the Paul Taylor fight is the one everyone always talks to me about and it's been on all the videos, but I want more. I want to have that Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward fight. I want to have something like that."
You can hear the entire interview with Davis, along with chats with Cole Escovedo and Brent Weedman, on last Friday's edition of Bloody Elbow Radio.