Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis will have his biggest test yet this Saturday when he puts his undefeated record on the line against gritty veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. A late replacement for Tito Ortiz, “Mr. Wonderful” will battle “Lil Nog” in the main event where a win can catapult him into the divisions top ten rankings.
MMANUTS.COM’s James Cahilellis was able to sit down with Mr. Wonderful and discuss the intricates of training camp and the art of weight cutting.
James Cahilellis: I’m here with undefeated Light Heavyweight “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis…Phil, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.
Phil Davis: Thank you. Glad to be here James.
James Cahilellis: I want to go more in depth about the training aspect leading up into a fight. How long is an average training camp, and can you give us an example of a typical week of training?
Phil Davis: Average training camp is anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks. It really has to do with the fighter, [and their] fitness level. I try not to let myself get to out of shape so I can get away with starting an eight week camp or even a six week camp… A regular week of work for me consists of practices twice a day. Maybe in the morning it will be sparring and later on that evening I’ll come back and be a little more specific with my coach or do some bag work. Mostly in the morning it’s more of an intense practice and later on in the evening it’s a little more concentrated on skill work and improvements.
James Cahilellis: Theres a saying that says “Your only as good as your training camp”. Why don’t you tell us a little about your coaching staff and your training partners?
Phil Davis: Absolutely. If there ever was a training camp that was like the Yankees, its my second home which is AKA in San Jose. A place where I spend most of my time is Alliance in San Diego. It consists of Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Joey Beltran, and… Bantamweight UFC Champion of the world, Dominick Cruz. Those are the core group of guys… And then we have some great coaches. Eric Del Fierro is more of a boxing and MMA coach. Adrian Melendez is a really sharp boxing coach and Billy Scheibe is a Muay Thai coach. Lloyd Irvin is a jiu jitsu/ninja specialist. Everybody working together is a crazy environment. If you can fail in that environment with those coaches, you have absolutely chose to do it yourself. The coaches are awesome, they’re willing to put forth a lot of time to make you great.
James Cahilellis: In training camp, there are things you enjoy and things that are probably God-awful. Whats the best part of training and what’s the thing you don’t like?
Phil Davis: You know, I enjoy training for the most part. It is my job, and I take it serious as a job…It’s just so much fun everyday. The bad part for me is probably sitting at home icing my chins or trying to get myself to put ice on my knee or [wherever] I’m banged up. Just regular everyday stuff that you should be doing that’s just a pain in the butt to do, but you got to do if you want to keep yourself fresh and preserve your body. That for me is the hard part.
James Cahilellis: How much time [do] you and your coaching staff take on studying a fighter…and developing a game plan against him?
Phil Davis: Game plan isn’t something that we immediately go to at the beginning of training camp. Training camp for me can consist of intensely working to get better up until the last couple of weeks, maybe two or three weeks out. Maybe four weeks. Then you start to personalize your training toward that opponent ’cause otherwise, if this fight was scheduled two and half, three months, four months out, that opponent can change two or three times before the fight. You can’t just keep changing the way your training, and keep changing and keep changing. You have to stay focused on one thing up into that fight. And what I mean by stay focused is I’m only worried about me being better every single day in the gym…up until that last couple of weeks and then we really focus on selective game plan stuff that we want to happen.
James Cahilellis: You were 197 [pounds] when you were wrestling at Penn State and now you are a light heavyweight at 205 [pounds]. Is that easier to cut the weight down?
Phil Davis: When your wrestling in college, it’s the hardest weight cut ever. You cut whatever weight you need to cut, and then you weigh in, and then you compete one hour later. I was able to be successful cutting 16, 17, 18 pounds competing one hour later. So for me cutting weight for MMA, even though I’m much bigger [and] the weight class is a little bit higher…but for me to weigh in [and then fight] the next day (pshh). It’s so much better. It’s so relieving. A lot of times you are so stressful wrestling because you never want to be weak, you never want to be weak in front of your opponent and sometimes it just hurts so bad getting on the scale. And as soon as you did [weigh in], you have to put your game face back on so they don’t see you sweat, and I don’t have to do that with MMA. It’s not that bad. I can go back to my room and eat all night and wake up a refreshed man.
James Cahilellis: Now you were talking about cutting weight and going down from 17, 18 pounds and then having to wrestle an hour later. How would you cut weight, and in the UFC, is it a different way to cut weight. Kinda take us through your routine on how you would cut that much weight so quickly and then still be able to function and be as strong as you were?
Phil Davis: Well now I use my sauna suit…that’s illegal in NCAA sports so obviously I didn’t use that in college, but I pretty much do the same thing. I throw on sweatpants, sweatshirt. I’ll run for 20 minutes, use the elliptical for another half an hour. I’m a pretty good sweater, so 50 minutes later I’m usually down around six or seven pounds.
James Cahilellis: Before I let you go, any shout outs you want to give? Anybody you want to say thanks to?
Phil Davis: I want to say to all my friends and family: I love you guys! I want to say thanks to my gym, Alliance in San Diego, all my family and friends there. I want to thank my sponsors, Dethrone, Headrush, you guys have been awesome. Tapout, love you too. I want to thank all the fans who have been supporting me and following me on twitter. You can follow me @PhilMrWonderful. I’m all tapped out on facebook friends but if you want to join the Phil Davis fan page, your more than welcome. I love all the support. Thank you guys!