Phil Davis spent the better part of this past week talking trash to a guy he's not even fighting. When given the opportunity at multiple media events ahead of UFC 172, Davis took his share of shots at UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
But it was the shots from Anthony Johnson inside the octagon that earned the true headlines of the week on Saturday night inside the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore. The straight rights. The jabs. The uppercuts. The leg kicks.
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Johnson, in his return to the UFC, dominated Davis and won a unanimous decision at UFC 172. All three judges scored the bout, 30-27.
"It didn't bother me at all," Johnson said about Davis' pre-fight chatter. "I didn't feel any pressure. He was the one who needed to perform."
Davis, the No. 4 ranked light heavyweight in the UFC, entered the fight with a distinct advantage in the wrestling, but the NCAA national champion struggled to penetrate to takedown defense of No. 14 Johnson. Davis (12-2, 1 NC) was stuffed on all eight of his takedown attempts by Johnson, known more as a striker than anything else.
It was Johnson's first UFC fight in more than two years. He was released from the promotion after missing weight multiple times when he competed at welterweight (170 pounds). Johnson moved up to a more natural weight classes, winning six fights in a row at light heavyweight and heavyweight, including three in World Series of Fighting.
"It's been a long road," said Johnson (17-4). "Since I left, I matured so much."
Johnson then thanked UFC president Dana White for bringing him back.
"He's the man who changed me," Johnson said. "Made me turn into a beast."