Brian O'Driscoll has been hailed as "one of the greats" by the player who will wear his trademark number 13 jersey against Australia on Saturday.
Ireland centre O'Driscoll had been expected to start his ninth British and Irish Lions Test - and take over as captain from an injured Sam Warburton - until head coach Warren Gatland dropped a selection bombshell.
"What he (O'Driscoll) has achieved in the game, no other might do," Davies said.
"He has been a great player. He might not like me saying it, but I've grown up watching him play. I have admired his work, and to have been able to play with him was very special. I have admiration for the man and a lot of respect.
"Brian is one of the greats because of what he's achieved in the game.
"I was very grateful to him for coming up and congratulating me. Everyone who isn't involved on Saturday has shown a professional attitude. That's been one of the positives of the tour."
Fit-again Jamie Roberts was called into the Lions midfield, with Roberts' regular Wales midfield partner Jonathan Davies moving to outside centre. O'Driscoll did not even make the bench.
Davies, meanwhile, has rejected any suggestion the Lions might lack leaders in Saturday's Test decider after losing Warburton and Paul O'Connell through injury, while also being without O'Driscoll. And the 36 times-capped Scarlets star also believes first-time Lions Test skipper Alun-Wyn Jones will prove a seamless choice as skipper.
"By his performances on tour, he (Jones) has led from the front," Davies said. "His work-rate is so impressive. You envy his fitness ability sometimes.
"I think he will do his talking on the pitch, as did Sam. He's a born leader, and I am looking forward to playing with him as a captain. I am sure he will do the jersey proud."