John Dodson could nearly be classified as morbidly obese a few weeks back.
The 5-foot-3 UFC flyweight contender — who faces champ Demetrious Johnson for the 125-pound division title at UFC on FOX 6 on Saturday — recently weighed 168, a couple tenths in the body mass index below the National Institutes of Health’s cutoff for obesity.
"I felt disgusting when I looked in the mirror," Dodson told FOXSports.com.
Dodson beefed up to help his teammates at Jackson Winkeljohn MMA train. Staying at 125 pounds, Dodson explains, wouldn’t make him a very viable sparring partner as he pushed his colleagues around the Octagon.
"Even though I was bigger, I could still move alright," Dodson said. "I dropped a few guys at the gym, something that made (trainer) Greg (Jackson) and others laugh."
Dodson admits remaining heavy — while maybe not more than 40 pounds than he is now — could be in his future.
"Everyone has more respect for the heavier weight (classes)," Dodson said. "They get on us because we’re so little. The average height for a male is, what, 5-8? They say, ‘Since we are not even average height, why do we care?’"
The UFC, however, thought enough of both Dodson and Johnson to put him atop of a card on broadcast television.
"I believe what UFC is giving … myself and John Dodson is a chance to show what the flyweight division can do," said Johnson, UFC’s first flyweight titleholder in a division introduced last year. "It will educate the fans as well. This is the division to watch."
Added Dodson: "It gives us a chance to showcase what we’re all about. A lot of people are talking about how we aren’t able to finish anybody, (but) it depends. If everybody is great in the division, it’s hard to get finishes."
Johnson is favored Saturday, although Dodson has won each of his first three UFC fights and has a five-fight winning streak overall.
"I don’t really care who anybody else is picking," Dodson said. "I’m picking myself. That’s the only thing I care about."
Dodson certainly has the backing of a couple fighters on the UFC on FOX card in teammates Donald Cerrone and Clay Guida.
"It’s our camaraderie down at Jacksons," Cerrone said. " Everybody is always having a good time and playing around. John is the best one to play around with. He’s a little baby."
"He keeps calling me a ‘baby,’" Dodson responded during the news conference. "Do I really look that young? … It’s all my big brothers picking on me."
At 28, Dodson won’t be growing any more — at least height-wise. Whether he makes the jump to bantamweight (135) or even to featherweight (145) will probably hinge on the outcome of Saturday’s bout.
Not that Dodson won’t near that clinically obese level again for other reasons, like a sugar high.
"I was eating like seven or eight times a day," Dodson reminisced. "I ate Skittles, Starbursts, Fruit Roll-Ups and just about anything else."