Last month a quartet of competitors ushered in the UFC’s flyweight era with the opening round of a tournament set to determine the company’s first 125-pound champion. However, one man who wasn’t in the group was in part the reason the UFC introduced the division – John Dodson.
The diminutive Dodson impressed fans on the Ultimate Fighter 14 where he won the season’s bantamweight tournament by knocking out T.J. Dillashaw in the final. Throughout the show Dodson was referred to as a natural 125er who had a ton of potential and personality to match.
When Dodson wasn’t called on for the honor of potentially being the promotion’s title-holder it turns out he was far more disappointed than any admirer of his may have been, though he quickly gained some perspective and reset his focus.
“I was a little hurt and offended that I wasn’t a part of it because I was the one running my mouth off as best as I could on The Ultimate Fighter about bringing in flyweights, but my brother said it best for me; he said, `John, don’t worry about it. All they’re doing is letting somebody else hold the belt and warm it up for you so that you really want it,’” said Dodson in an interview with the UFC’s website.
Dodson’s quest to get the belt starts next Saturday when he faces Tim Elliott on the preliminary portion of UFC on FOX 3. To get ready for the challenge he’s been working hard at Jackson’s MMA, ready to show the world why he’s the uncrowned champion.
“I have guys at my weight class that are helping me prepare for this. I don’t have to worry about the speed or the technique being a problem against me; I have all that with me already,” began Dodson on his training before injecting some of his trademark humor. “I also have the heavier weights as well — the ‘35s and ‘45s — plus Donald Cerrone’s been kicking my butt, letting me know how much I suck right now.”
The process may be a grueling one but well worth it if Dodson even comes close to achieving his dreams. “The Magician” may not have been able to make a flyweight tourney spot appear out of thin air in March but he has a much bigger trick up his sleeve if things go as planned.
“I have a goal set in my mind, and I want to make sure that I can hold all three titles at once. I need to get 125 first because I want to have them all in order: 125, 135, and 145. I want to make sure that I can hold all of them and defend all of them at the same time,” said a confident Dodson. “If I can take one, I want to be able to carry them all on my shoulder, and I want to be able to defend them whenever the time comes. Plus, what that means is that I’ll get more fights throughout the year. If I defend (one of the three titles) once every two months, that means I’m guaranteed to fight six times a year.”
Overzealous, perhaps, but Dodson clearly has his mind set on greatness and has the talent to achieve it with the right people around him (check), exceptional physical gifts (check), and an unquenchable thirst to be the best (check). Prelims for UFC on FOX 3, including his May 5 match-up, begin at 5:00 PM EST on Fuel TV.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC