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Mike Davis has his hands wrapped prior to his fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena

Self-Belief Was Mike Davis’ Missing Piece

Mike Davis Challenges Viacheslav Borshchev At UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Yan Live From The UFC APEX Saturday, October 1

One of the UFC lightweight division’s best kept secrets is Mike Davis.

With only three UFC fights in three and a half years, Davis hasn’t competed enough for fans to pinpoint him as a fighter on the rise, but he’s ready to change all of that.

Talent has never come up into question when people talk about Davis, as the 29-year-old lightweight has flashed moments of brilliance since competing on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018. Frustrating injuries and mental blocks prevented “Beast Boy” from competing with the frequency he expected when he made it into the UFC.

Don't Miss Davis Take On Viacheslav Borshchev At UFC Fight Night Dern vs Yan!

But the time away from the Octagon turned out to be exactly what Davis needed, as he sought out mental therapy to help him develop tools to get over the hurdles preventing him from unleashing his potential.

“I’ve done a lot of getting into my head because that’s the one thing that is holding me back is that I don’t believe in myself,” Davis told “I still have a little doubt. I have the skill set, but I have a little doubt on my ability and I shouldn’t.”

Mike Davis kicks Mason Jones in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena
Mike Davis kicks Mason Jones in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 20, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Davis first felt like his confidence was shaken when he made his UFC debut on short notice against Gilbert Burns. Obviously, facing someone like Burns in your UFC debut is a tall task in and of itself, but the submission loss made Davis feel like he didn’t belong competing with the best in the world.

Back-to-back victories over Thomas Gifford and Mason Jones helped lift Davis’ spirits and showed him that he has what it takes to succeed in the UFC. But those victories weren’t all he needed; he needed that time off and so he took it.

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Over a year-and-a-half later, Davis is back and ready to rock in a fun lightweight matchup with Viacheslav Borshchev at UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Yan. He’s changed his mental approach to fighting and believes this new outlook sets him up perfectly to reach his true potential in MMA.

“I’m testing my skill set like I would at a video game tournament. I’ve played the game, I’ve learned all the skills and now I’m in a tournament. This is what it is,” Davis said. “I’ve been fighting once a year and that’s because of my mental stuff because I don’t want to be in the Octagon, because I don’t like fighting. With this new approach, this enjoyment of testing out my skill set rather than considering it like a brawl or a fight or something that requires a lot of aggression, I’m just having fun.”

Finding enjoyment in the sport was the missing piece for Davis, and now that he’s identified it, he sees his return to the Octagon as his chance to make a splash.

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“I’ve evolved and I feel great. This is going to be where I show out,” Davis said. “I’m an elite striker and people know that about me. People know that for sure and I want to show [Borshchev] I’m an elite striker. I think that I can stop this in the first round on the feet. However, I want to show people what I can do and if I need to, I will.”

“I know my skill set is up here at the top…I needed to believe it mentally; that was my biggest downfall and I think I’m past it. This fight is going to go really well.”

UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Yan took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!