Written By: Desiree Cordova
Photography By: Kori Kobayashi
John Dodson, also known as “The Magician” is notorious for his speed, fast hands and explosive footwork. Dodson has been professionally fighting since 2004 and has won 8 of his last 9 fights. As one of the longest tenured team members of Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA gym, he is ranked UFC’s #1 contender in the flyweight division.
“Fighting is like a full time job but you’re forced to work overtime everyday. I practice every area of the game so I make sure to keep up with the changes. MMA is such an evolving sport, so I’m working on my boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, grappling, learning new cage control, and new cage defense,” said Dodson, who began his career in 2002 after being recruited by Mixed Martial Arts trainer, Greg Jackson.
Making his UFC debut in 2011, Dodson won the fight via TKO against T.J Dillashaw, making him the bantamweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter 14, he also won an additional $40,000 for winning the Knockout of the Night honors. It was not until 2013 that Dodson became the first Ultimate Fighter alumnus to fight for a title post-season 5. Dodson faced off against UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who won via unanimous decision.
“The thought going through my mind fighting some of the best fighters in the world is that I have an AWESOME job. It’s a great feeling knowing I can keep up with them, but it’s a better feeling knowing that it is my job. There are tons of people that hate their job and I’m not one of them,” said Dodson, who is now 29 years old and fighting for a chance at a UFC title in his near future.
On June 27th, 2014 John “The Magician” Dodson competed in the undercard event against flyweight contender John Moraga as part of UFC 42 headlined by Benson Henderson and Rustam Khabilov. This historic night at Albuquerque’s Tingley Coliseum was New Mexico’s first ever UFC hosted “Fight Night.” Local UFC superstar, hometown hero and The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez also graced the card with a bout against Ross Pearson.
Back in November 2010, John Dodson defeated Moraga by unanimous decision at an event called “Nemesis Fighting: MMA Global Invasion” in Punta Cana, La Altagracia. This time around however was more significant for both fighters, giving Dodson a shot at a possible rematch for the title against Demetrious Johnson and a chance for John Moraga to break into the top three fighters in the flyweight division. In the ending seconds of round 2, John Dodson delivered a solid knee to Moraga’s nose forcing the ringside physician’s hand in stopping the fight between rounds 2-3.
Due to knee damage and a torn meniscus, Dodson underwent ACL surgery to help him revamp his body since his knee trouble began in early 2013. This has put his rematch with current champion Demetrious Johnson on hold for now. “Too bad if Demetrious doesn’t like that fight, that’s the fight he’s probably looking at. No doubt about it, that is (potentially) one of the premier match-ups in the UFC this year, recently said UFC President Dana White.