When John Dodson slammed his knee into John Moraga’s nose to end their fight a couple of weeks ago he proclaimed afterwards that he was the best flyweight in the world and he was coming for champion Demetrious Johnson.
Dodson fought Johnson in early 2013 and lost a decision to the incumbent champion in the closest fight yet since he won the inaugural title two years ago. Ever since that fight ended, Dodson has been gunning for a rematch and following his TKO win over Moraga it appeared he’d finally done enough to earn one.
Then a curious thing happened following Johnson’s win over Ali Bagautinov at UFC 174 — he didn’t seem all that interested in facing Dodson a second time. By no means did he say he wouldn’t accept a fight against the former Ultimate Fighter winner, but Johnson floated the idea that there were plenty of other contenders out there and stated ‘I’m looking for new challenges’.
Needless to say Dodson was listening and he was none to happy when hearing Johnson’s comments.
"I heard the press conference, I heard him trying to duck and bob and weave and jive out of a fight with me. Then he wants to tell everybody he wants to fight everybody but me, telling everybody ‘John Dodson’s a clown’ yet he sounded like a scared little pussycat trying to run away from me. Is he afraid of the big bad wolf?" Dodson told FOX Sports.
"He doesn’t think I’m worthy as an opponent? He said he wanted to see him fight (Jussier) Formiga, who I leveled. They want to see him go blow for blow with Zach Makovsky, who won two fights in the UFC so far. I think I’ve been on a tear here with a 5-1 streak, and the only person that beat me was Demetrious. If he doesn’t want to fight me, put anybody else in front of me and I’ll go toe-to-toe and I’ll put them to sleep just like I should have done with him."
I’m going to watch me hit him, I’m going to watch him fall and I’m going to watch me kill him. I’m not going to stop punching him until the ref pulls me off or somebody throws in the towel. I’m going to make sure he walks away a bloody mess
— John Dodson on Demetrious Johnson
Dodson is convinced that Johnson knows he escaped their last fight with a win and wants no part of a rematch because there’s little chance he can come out unscathed again. Dodson managed to drop Johnson during their fight and nearly finished him early on, but the champion persevered and battled back to get the win.
Dodson guarantees Johnson won’t be as lucky if they fight again and that’s why the champion is running scared from a rematch.
"Of course (he’s ducking me). He knows I will put him to sleep this time," Dodson said. "I’m in better shape, better conditioning, my strength is only getting better. He’s shown he has knockout power now putting out Joseph Benavidez, one of the hardest hitting guys in the division, congratulations. Why don’t you try to put me to sleep? I’m going to be just as fast as you, just as technical, but the only thing that’s different — I have more strength."
Earlier in the week before Johnson defeated Bagautinov in the main event from Vancouver, UFC president Dana White already said that with a win he would definitely enjoy seeing the rematch with Dodson happen and that fight made the most sense for the division.
Johnson didn’t have quite the same reaction when asked about a second go round with Dodson, and the New Mexico native was happy to read between the lines with what he was really saying to the media last Saturday night.
"The only thing I kept hearing was ‘I don’t want to fight John because he’s going to knock me out’. That’s all I kept on hearing — ‘John Dodson is going to knock me out. I’m going to go toe-to-toe with him and he’s going to level me and I’m going to look like a scared little girl and I’m going to lose the title’," Dodson said. "He says he’s the ‘king of the division’, well a king doesn’t turn and run away from a battle. I thought the king was willing to take on any challengers and defend their kingdom, defend their territory? If he doesn’t want to defend his territory, strip him, and I’ll defend it."
The good part about this entire situation is whether Johnson or Dodson want the fight, ultimately the decision comes down to matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby and of course White as well. As a matter of fact, according to Dodson, White already said he should have been crowned champion the first time they fought but the judges got it wrong.
"Dana thought I won the first time we fought. After me and Demetrious Johnson fought the first time, he was like ‘John, I don’t know what you’re worried about, you won the fight, don’t put your head down, you were a monster, you’re a beast, you’re going to be our new champion’ and even to this day I hear that replaying that I am the new champion. Not Demetrious Johnson, he only won two rounds, I won three. Dana White thought I won that fight," Dodson revealed.
"I shouldn’t be the No. 1 contender right now, I should be the champion."
As agitated as Dodson is right now, he’s not going to sit around and wait for Johnson to make up his mind about what’s next. His hope is that the UFC puts the fight together sooner rather than later, but if Johnson isn’t willing to defend the belt against him, Dodson will gladly beat every other contender standing in line to prove he’s the best flyweight in the world even without the belt.
"It looks like I’m going to have to put my fist through somebody else’s face because Demetrious is trying to run away from me again," Dodson said. "If they want him to fight somebody else that’s cool. If they want me to fight somebody else, that’s even better. Let me step up there and put whoever they put in front of me to sleep to show my worthiness. If Demetrious doesnât think I’m worthy, fine, but the world seems to have my back and wants me to fight him."
It’s safe to say Dodson’s prediction for the rematch with Johnson ends in a much different way than the first one. The judges can take the night off, but the medical personnel cage side might want to stay close because they could be on call in a hurry.
"Next time we meet I’ll put him to sleep. Then we can do the rubber match and I’ll do it again. I’ll have two knockouts over the champ. I’m going to watch me hit him, I’m going to watch him fall and I’m going to watch me kill him. I’m not going to stop punching him until the ref pulls me off or somebody throws in the towel. I’m going to make sure he walks away a bloody mess and I will walk away the new champion with a nice shiny belt around my waist," Dodson said emphatically. "That’s how that fight’s going to end."