John Dodson was successful -- if not sensational -- in his Octagon return. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
John Dodson will be the first to admit that he did not deliver a vintage “Magician” performance at UFC 187.
In his first fight in nearly a year after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL and meniscus, Dodson took a unanimous verdict over former training partner Zack Makovsky in a preliminary flyweight tilt. The bout was contested primarily on the feet, and while the Jackson-Wink MMA representative was unable to land with his trademark power, his ability to mix in kicks and knees with his punches was enough to get the nod from the cageside judges.
Overall, the performance was a bit of a departure from his previous two outings, emphatic knockout wins over John Moraga and Darrell Montague. Dodson was not particularly impressed with himself after the triumph, but he acknowledged that ring rust could been a factor.
“I’m not excited about my performance. I looked like a guy coming off a long layoff,” Dodson said. “I threw a lot of punches and tried to hit him as hard as I could. I just wasn't firing on all cylinders.”
Makovsky was able to hold his own in exchanges, as evidenced by his 37-to-31 advantage in significant strikes landed. However, “Fun Size” was thwarted on all 17 of his takedown attempts while being grounded twice – including a big slam – by Dodson. Still, Makovsky left not totally convinced that he deserved to be on the wrong end of the scorecards.
“I thought it was close. When I'm in there I don't really have an idea of how it's going. I'm just focused on what I have to do. I was told it was 1-1 going into the third round, but I will have to watch it and see what I think,” Makovsky said. “I thought I landed the cleaner shots, landed more shots. He had one big takedown, but I thought I did more. Losing to the No. 1 contender is not discouraging, but I will feel much better if I watch the fight and see that I fought well.”
At the moment, it appears that Dodson is the most viable challenger for reigning 125-pound king Demetrious Johnson. When they first fought at UFC on Fox 6 in January 2013, Dodson put “Mighty Mouse” in peril early before wearing down in the later frames to lose a unanimous decision. It is still widely regarded as the most difficult test of Johnson’s title reign.
“I’m still happy I got the win and hope a title shot is next,” Dodson said. “I'll be a totally different fighter against Demetrious Johnson, and I will throw everything at him.”