With UFC 152 in the books this past Saturday, September 22nd the smallest division in the UFC was finally cemented by the co-main event, inaugural flyweight championship bout between two former top bantamweights Demetrious Johnson and Las Cruces, NM native Joe Benavidez. In just one weeks there may already be a challenger and number one contender for the 125-pound title currently held by Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson who not only won the title but his name in consideration for the sports fastest fighter. Undoubtedly since Johnson won the bout in a technical and exciting fight that ended with Johnson getting the split decision there was one Albuquerque native still in training camp looking to make his mark on the very new UFC Flyweight division.
John “the Magician” Dodson (13-5 MMA, 2-0 UFC) representing Jackson-Winklejohn’s acclaimed MMA gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico will compete on the upcoming UFC on FX 5 event on October 5th, inside the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dodson, the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 14 as a bantamweight will be paired with former number one ranked flyweight Jussier “Formiga” da Silva in what could very well be a number one contender bout to test the Flyweight divisions first champion.
Starting athletically with football, track and wrestling at Moriart yHigh School, Dodson carries the same skills from those sports with him into the world of mixed martial arts. Being extremely quick, agile and disciplined has helped Dodson earn two state wrestling titles. For fans that may have followed Dodson through the years know that he is notorious for using his wrestling in reverse, stopping takedowns from opponents in favor of utilizing his spectacular arsenal of high flying kicks and powerful hands to beat his opponents.
Before the UFC created the flyweight division, Dodson would stay in the regional scene fighting in three different weight classes. Competing as a featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight he would build a very impressive and extensive resume in the sport. In only his second career bout, Dodson faced current UFC fighter and at the time number one ranked flyweight Yasuhiro Urushitani and would lose the bout by judge’s decision in a bout that controversially could have been awarded to Dodson.
While racking up victories, in between Dodson would find controversial decisions to be a nagging theme in his career. Fighting in the now defunct Ultimate Warrior Challenge (UWC) Dodson would fight the undefeated Pat Runez and now current UFC bantamweight Mike Easton, both bouts would be highly entertaining but both would see Dodson losing by split decision in bouts that could clearly be argued in favor of wins for Dodson.
Not too long after the UWC folded, Dodson earned his shot into the UFC by joining the The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Winning two of three of the fights in the house by knockout which included the seasons top knockout that saw a left hand end the hopes of seeing the finale for a very tough Johnny Bedford and in turn earned his shot in the finale fighting for a contract with the UFC. On the other side of the cage would be undefeated top prospect, Team Alpha Male’s T.J. Dillashaw. Unleashing the same power that put Johnny Bedford unconscious in the house, Dodson would knock Dillashaw out in the first round to be the first ever bantamweight 135-pound Ultimate Fighter winner.
Since the win, Dodson dropped down to his natural weight class to fight late replacement Tim Elliot. While the two showcased their unorthodox striking acumen, Dodson would once again come out on top. With the win, Dodson was penciled in to fight Jussier da Silva in a fight that very well may have been imminent outside the UFC if Dodson had not signed onto the reality show. It is easy to see that the two have been on a collision course for some time and finally the fans will be treated to two fighters battling with two much different styles.
“I’m looking to put on a good show,” Dodson shared with SWFight.com, “I want to make sure that I’m on my way to earning a title shot.”
Dodson will certainly have a chance to do so if he overcomes an extremely stiff test on October 5th. “Formiga” (14-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was a former number one ranked flyweight until a loss to fellow UFC Flyweight Ian McCall this past year. Having a reputation for having one of the best grappling games in the division and representing one of the most accredited gyms for the smaller weight fighters in Nova Uniao, there is no doubt that Formiga will be the tough opponent that Dodson needs a win over to send his own shockwaves through the division to earn his title shot.
While he will clearly have a striking advantage, it will be very interesting to see what gameplan Formiga will look to implement against the speedy and hard to get ahold of Dodson. Speed is something that creates huge advantages especially in this weight class where the smaller fighters have more room to work inside the octagon. Dodson’s wrestling background and profecient striking game should be more then enough to bring home to New Mexico an opportunity for Albuquerque’s first taste at a Flyweight Champion.
Many fight fans have been looking forward to a match up with Champion Demetrious Johnson even before the division was created as Dodson and Johnson are always in conversation for quickest fighters. Dodson will have his chance to make that a reality for fight fans to watch and find out for themselves.
SWFight.com sends our best wishes to Dodson in his journey to Minnesota and stay tuned for fight results and recaps!