As I’m sure you are all aware by now, the great voodoo injury curse of 2012 has struck again. Yesterday, Dana White tweeted to the world that Forrest Griffin has torn his MCL and strained his ACL, and thus had to drop out of his fight at UFC 155 against Phil Davis. This is a shame because this fight had such great heat going into it, due to that time Forrest questioned Davis’s pink shorts and all sorts of MMA “media” hinted Forrest was out of line because Davis wears pink to bring awareness to breast cancer. (/sarcasm)
Anyways, if you recall, Davis was initially filling in for Chael Sonnen, who trash-talked his way to being pulled from the fight with Forrest and inserted into the TUF house opposite Jon Jones. As of now, there is no word on whether the UFC will re-complete the match-up and keep Davis on the card; however, I hope they do, because it could serve as a good showcase fight to build a future 205 pound contender on a pay per view many will be watching due to the heavyweight title main event.
Looking at the current crop of light heavyweights the UFC has available to it, there aren’t many obvious choices for the fight. This is especially true considering that the fight was intended to be the co-main event of one of the biggest shows of the year, and it makes little sense to have Davis fight someone that is either unknown or would not have the potential to lead to a bigger fight for the winner in early 2013.
From the current UFC roster, light heavyweights Rampage Jackson, Glover Teixeira, Shogun, Alexander Gustafsson, Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, Rogerio Nogueira, Ryan Bader, Vitor Belfort, and the Janitor are all booked to fight within the next couple of months. Not only that, but they are all booked in fights that would make little sense to break up in favor of a fight against Davis. Thiago Silva would otherwise seem like a perfect fill in, however, he is currently in the midst of a suspension after his most recent fight.
Even when you take Strikeforce into account, there isn’t much to work with, as Strikeforce has not had much of a light heavyweight division since the defection of Dan Henderson to the UFC and King Mo to Bellator. I can only name three light heavyweights that could serve as worthy replacements, but Gegard Mousasi and Mike Kyle are booked to fight each other next month, and Feijao is also in the midst of a suspension.
In my mind that leaves just two realistic possibilities for the fight, one from within the UFC and one from outside. The first is Brandon Vera, who we have not seen since his defeat at the hands of Shogun back in August. I think this fight would have the potential to be fun, especially if Davis is willing to test how his striking game has progressed against the dangerous Muay Thai specialist Vera. “The Truth” has always been on the precipice of title contention, so this fight makes sense from a rankings standpoint, as it will either lead to Vera maintaining his spot in the upper portion of the rankings, or allow Davis to progress to another top-of-the division challenge.
The second possibility comes from outside the UFC, but he is a fighter that the UFC is familiar with. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has finally embraced the light heavyweight inside of him, and has won his first three fights in that division. Overall, Johnson is 4-0 since being cut from the UFC due to his weight issues, and there would seem to be better odds that Dana would give him another chance in the big show now that there is less of a chance at him having more weight issues. I have always been a Rumble fan, and this is a fight I would love to see because Johnson’s undeniable power would give Davis’s chin its biggest test to date.
No matter what, though, I really hope Davis isn’t taken off the card, because 2012 has had enough fights cancelled. Make it happen Dana! Please?