Bellator MMA announced today that light heavyweight Phil Davis has signed to an “exclusive, multi-fight deal” to compete for the promotion.
“I can’t wait to be fighting in Bellator and wreck shop on everyone,” said Davis in the press release. “I am the absolute best and most dominant grappler to ever fight in MMA and I’m excited to get in there and compete at my new home.”
Davis, of Pennsylvania but fighting out of Alliance MMA in San Diego, is 13-3 (with one no contest) in his MMA career. A four-time All American and one-time NCAA champion wrestler at Penn State, Davis has fought for the Ultimate Fighting Championship since UFC 112 in 2010. In that debut match, he defeated fellow light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson by submission.
But he has since seen criticism for a plodding fighting style, despite a successful career which includes wins over the likes of Lyoto Machida and Rogerio Nogueira.
After a split decision loss to Ryan Bader at the UFC on FOX show in Sweden back in January, Davis had reportedly fought the last fight of his contract with the promotion — and his future was unclear, until today.
Bellator president Scott Coker, whose promotion recently crowned a new light heavyweight champion in Liam McGeary, expressed excitement about the signing of Davis, who is ranked among the top ten in the world in the division.
“Phil is a world class Mixed Martial Artist and we are very happy to be adding him to our roster of some of the best Light Heavyweights in the world,” said the promotion’s president, Scott Coker. “Bellator remains fully committed to building its world-class roster by signing top free agents like Davis, as well as grooming up-and-coming stars. We’ve got some amazing match-ups in mind for ‘Mr. Wonderful’ that we will be announcing in the weeks to come.”