John Dodson: ‘I Had Way Too Much Respect’ for Demetrious Johnson in First Fight

By Mike Sloan Sep 3, 2015
John Dodson had his chances against Demetrious Johnson in their first bout. | Dave Mandel/

John Dodson is one of the hardest punchers in MMA today.

Even within a diminutive 5-foot-3 frame, “The Magician” packs the sort of wallop in his fists that many middleweights could only dream of having. Although Dodson doesn’t possess a world championship, he believes he is without question the best on the planet at 125 pounds.

He almost got that title, but he let reigning champion Demetrious Johnson off the hook when the two fought two-and-a-half years ago.

If Dodson gets the same opportunity against “Mighty Mouse” at UFC 191 that he had at UFC on Fox 6, he vows to finish the champion once and for all. Dodson stunned Johnson with a right hand in round one, dropped his foe in round two, and overall landed several solid shots throughout the bout’s first 15 minutes. Still, the challenger couldn’t finish his rival off.

“I missed the opportunity [of] knocking his head off,” Dodson said. “I messed up with a few shots that I missed on, but I dropped him and I should have capitalized on it. I can admit that Demetrious was a tough opponent. So my opportunity is just to capitalize on every mistake that he makes.”

Dodson didn’t make too many mistakes in his initial battle with Johnson because the fight wound up being one of the most competitive, most exciting fights the sport of MMA had witnessed in years. It was a perfect storm of two of the best fighters in their division, in their physical primes, fighting tooth and nail for something only one man can have.

However, Dodson is adamant the only real error he made inside the Octagon was that he didn’t fight as hard as he should have and that he showed the champion too much reverence. He said he never did that in previous matches and he certainly hasn’t since; the same regard for the champ won’t materialize in the main event of UFC 191, either.

“Everyone saw me with a vicious intent or my killer instinct when I knocked out T.J. Dillashaw, Darrell Montague and everyone else I put down,” he said. “I didn’t show that same type of intensity or level of killer instinct, I guess, to Demetrious Johnson. I showed, I guess, I had way too much respect for him in that fight. And the one coming up I want to make sure that I see Demetrious as just another fighter and not as the champion.

“This time I’m not going to let it go to the judges,” he added. “I’m going to go balls to the wall and I hope DJ is willing to do the same thing.”

Dodson told the media during the UFC 191 conference call that he has not prepared for the same Demetrious Johnson that he last faced. He said he envisions a completely different fight this time around, a decision he made as to not fall for any potential traps Johnson might set.

But, he said, one thing he will be is a better champion than Johnson. Taking a jab at Johnson’s often buttoned-up approach, Dodson is ready to take the world by storm.

“Everyone wants to sit there and cheer for a character,” he said. “We’re in the business of entertaining, not just being a good fighter. There are a million good fighters out there but they just don’t make it to this level. Everyone likes my face anyway. They already say I’m the greatest of all time, so why not? They already forgot about DJ.”


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