Leading up to his fight with MMA Ironman Jeremy Horn, Chris Davis from Headhunter Combatives took some time out of his training schedule to talk about his preparations leading up to his fight on Saturday night at Adrenaline MMA in Birmingham, AL.
Next MMA Fighter : Tell us a bit about yourself, how you got into Mixed Martial Arts and why you decided to train at Headhunter Combatives?
Chris Davis : A little over 2 years ago I was selling advertisements for a company and I was walking down the street when I saw a sign on a door that said grappling. So I walked in, and I told the guy there that I would really be interested in doing this if I could train for free because I couldn’t pay for a gym membership at the time. I told him that if he would let me train for free there that I could get him an ad in the phone book. So when he agreed, I said let me call my boss to make sure that’s ok. So I called my boss and said “Can I give this guy a free ad for a 1 year membership” and he said “Sure” so I started training at this place which at the time was called Guerilla Grappling. I continued to train at this place for about 6 months until they shut down and I knew I needed to find a new place to call home.
By this time I had fought about 5 fights as an amateur and started looking for a place to train when I started dating a girl who lived in Tuscaloosa. So when I woke up one morning, I went over to Headhunter to train 1 time and from that moment, I knew it was the place I needed to be. Mike Taylor was my head trainer down there and he has an extensive background in Combatives and Mixed Martial Arts and used to fight back in the day when they didn’t have gloves. As a matter of fact his first fight, was against a guy named Carlos Newton.
Next MMA Fighter : That’s awesome, have you ever convinced Mike to try and get back in there and meet up with Carlos who is trying to make a comeback right now?
CD : I’ve tried to get Mike a few times to get back into shape for one fight because everyone in Tuscaloosa knows how Phenomenal of a fighter he is and as good of a fighter that he is, hes an even better coach.
Next MMA Fighter : I read that you come from a military background, so I wanted to ask you how you use the discipline you learned in the service in your everyday training routine?
CD : I think obviously it transfers really well, because in the Marine Corps you get up early and it becomes a habit, plus we even had a combatives program although it was mostly weapons oriented. During this training, it helped me develop that leather skin that helps you get used to having a bruise, a twisted ankle, a hurt toe or a bad joint to name a few so when I started training MMA, which is a very physical sport, it was easy for me to adapt.
My discipline helped make it easy for me to get up early in the morning for my cardio, train late at night and always be ready to continue even when I was beat up, so I credit the Marine Corp for that toughness. While I was in the Marine Corps, I had a good military career and I learned a lot as far as discipline goes and I got used to getting up early in the morning and getting it done.
Next MMA Fighter : We are a website that is dedicated to finding the next great fighter in MMA, so what do you think sets you apart from the rest?
CD : Since I have turned professional I have had the opportunity to travel alot as I’ve fought down in Florida, up in Tennessee and I lived in California for a few years. During those times, I met a lot of guys that are in MMA just to be in the sport and wear a shirt that says they are a fighter. They really just want to live the lifestyle and be able to tell their friends they are a fighter.
I feel that the people that are able to separate themselves from that are able to make to the next level be it the UFC, WEC or even Adrenaline MMA and they get there because they are driven by something else more powerful. You really have to have something that drives you from your heart and for me that’s my daughter. I have a little girl named Layla and she is absolutely my world, she gives me the inspiration to continue with my cardio even when I am about to vomit because I want to do everything I can to provide for her the way I want to.
Next MMA Fighter : What do you think best describes your fighting style, and is there a signature move that we should look out for on Saturday?
CD : A lot of fighters I have met and even a lot of fighters in my camp including Brandon Powell and Barry Clifford who are fighting on this card, have that pedigree background that defines them and for me I didn’t really have a background, I came up strictly in MMA.
As much as I don’t like to mention it, I did my fair share of street brawling, so when I picked up MMA I definitely kept some of the street style in me and my trainers always mention that I am very ballistic and explosive. When I am fighting, I am always moving forward or laterally and there is no backward movement so I guess that best describes my style. As far as a specific move goes, I follow what one of my training partners Barry Clifford likes to say and that is to just listen to your body because it never ever tells you anything wrong.
Next MMA Fighter : What do you think is the one moment in your young MMA career that you will always remember?
CD : When I fought down in Tampa at the XFC event, I fought a great fighter named Donavin Hawkey and the fight went great. The thing that I will never forget was when I first came out of the tunnel and I looked up to see about 8500 to 9000 people and this was the largest crowd I had ever fought in front of. When I was preparing to walk out I really questioned how I would handle it, but once the adrenaline took over and I started feeding off the crowd it was at that moment that all the nerves went away.
There’s a good friend of mine at Omega Attire that takes care of our guys and when I was walking out at the same XFC event that they were sponsoring they got a picture of me on Omega Catwalk and that was something that was really cool that I don’t think I will ever forget. If you ask me this question 2 weeks from now I might have to change that moment to when my hand was raised after I beat Jeremy Horn.
Next MMA Fighter : In facing a pioneer of the sport in Jeremy Horn, how do you prepare yourself mentally to fight against someone with so much experience.
CD : What I have done up until this point that has worked well for me is I draw from my coaching. I think a big mistake that an up and coming fighter might make is they get intimidated. If you can push aside all the hype you can realize that it’s just you getting in the cage with another man and he doesn’t have lead in his hands, hopefully. The key is stay calm, not get intimidated and stick with your process. As my grandfather used to say “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and that definitely holds true for me.
When I prepare for a fight, I try to keep my routine the same in the way I eat and train but I might do a few things different such as picking up my cardio a bit and watching more tape. But when it all comes down to it like I said, its two guys getting into a cage that are going to get into a fight, and I have been in a whole lot of those.
Next MMA Fighter : Earlier in the day on Saturday UFC 99 is going to take place in Germany. As an up and coming fighter in the 205 weight class, who might find one of these guys in the future, who do you think is going to win in the main event of Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin.
CD : Ive been out to Vegas a few times and trained at Randy Couture’s where I have stood next to Wanderlei and I didn’t think he was anything particularly impressive physically. But I will tell you what, that man is absolutely ballistic and I think that you could hit him with a sledgehammer and he would keep fighting you. If I had to pick a winner I would have to go with Wanderlei because he’s my boy, I watch him a lot and he’s a great fighter.
Next MMA Fighter : Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today Chris. We want to wish you the best of luck on Saturday and can you tell us who you would like to thank for getting you ready for this fight?
CD : Buddy Vail with Shady Oaks Landscaping down in Tuscaloosa, not only has he helped me out a lot but he is a great friend. I would also like to thank David Elder of Tera Lane Salon and Spa, Brent Tidwell of Tidwell Chiropractic, all of my training partners and absolutely everyone down at Headhunter Combatives/Crossfit MMA. We have a great camp down there and helping me get ready for this fight was Barry Clifford, Brandon Powell and of course John Salter. We have all trained real hard and just finished a tough couple of weeks with our cardio.
Last and most importantly, I’d like to thank Mike Taylor my head trainer who is a great guy and has helped me so much. I really can say that I consider Mike more of a brother then a trainer to me and I would go to war with that guy.
Thanks again to Chris and his gym Headhunter Combatives for talking to us about his training and we will look forward to his fight on Saturday night against Jeremy Horn at Adrenaline 3 “Bragging rights in Birmingham”
UPDATE : Chris lost a hard fought Match to Jeremy Horn at Adrenaline MMA 3. We look forward to Chris’ next fight and have no doubt that he will rebound and continue to his winning ways.