This Saturday night we will see the return of Irish MMA veteran Ben Davis (5-5) as he heads to Malta to compete at Centurion FC 1. His opponent will be Ruslam Malsam (2-6) who is stepping in on late notice after original opponent, Croatia's Manuel Bilic (9-5), had to withdraw through injury.
It has been almost four years since we last saw Davis in action. We caught up him ahead of this fight. Check out our interview below:
Hi Ben. It has been three and a half years since you last fought. What have you been doing since?
I took time out for a few reasons really. I wanted to concentrate on my academy - Shaolin MMA - and to spend more time with my two children & my wife Indra. Another reason was to concentrate on what I seen as a weakness in my game which was my BJJ. So I trained a lot with my BJJ coach Hugo Borim of Arena Fight Fitness where I have earned purple belt and 3 stripes to date.
Why are you returning to fighting?
I feel l was born to fight. I'm a warrior. I love testing my skills & the battle of overcoming & controlling my inner self in battle! While academically at first I never excelled. Through sport I did. It made me believe in myself & overcome obstacles. To which I then found that I was intelligent and that I just learnt things in different ways to the social 'norm'. This is one of the many things I wanna show people through martial arts. I will always fight to raise awareness in the world.
You were supposed to fight last October against Frans Mlambo. How good it is to finally be getting to step back into the cage?
That was a big disappointment for me as I trained my ass off dieting for 2 & half months & get told the fights off shortly after arriving at the venue. Pullouts have been a familiar part of my career. This next fight is no different. Another last minute pull out and I'm fighting someone else at a catchweight.
You've had one fight in the past six years. Do you feel ring rust will be an issue.
I guess we won't know till it's all said & done but I have felt great in training. I'm fitter than I have ever been and I have 5 times the amount of skills I had 3 years ago. I will get my coach Tony Carrick to put some WD 40 on before I get in there, haha.
Talk about your opponent this Saturday night.
To be honest with you I know nothing about him. I spent so much time throughout my career training for specific opponents only for them to pull out. That has taught me one thing - prepare for everything! I'm not fighting his fight. I'll be fighting my fight!
How did this fight actually come about and are you looking forward to fighting in Malta?
I love traveling, seeing the world & making connections with new people so what better way to do it than through martial arts competition! I'm grateful for my coach Tony for making this possible and securing an opponent after another late pullout.
You're an OG of Irish MMA. Talk about how much the scene has changed since you started fighting professionally in 2008.
Damn, an OG! Haha. the level has been raised for sure! Amateurs now are as skilled as the pros. There was not much of an ammy scene when I started & that is why I jumped to pro so quick.
It seems that there are a few people on the scene who don't like the new rules for amateurs and pros. Where do you stand and do you think the Irish MMA Association could improve.
I think there's a lot of positives to the leap in safety standards that has happened in the south of Ireland over the last couple years. I just wish it was not so costly for the participants. My only issue is with the Irish health care system. I don't think the new safety rules accommodate the economical & social status of a large percentage of people who could be the future OG's of Irish MMA.
What are your fight plans going forward after this fight?
I won't tell you just yet. I will get through this battle first then I will talk to my Family and my coach Tony Carrick.
A prediction for this fight?
I will finish him in the 1st round, Osss!