Elite mix martial arts (MMA) fighter Filipino-American John Dodson has been officially released by the world’s premier MMA promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Dodson, 35, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, holds a professional record of 21-12 and has been with the organization since 2011. He fought some of the best names in flyweight and bantamweight including two bouts with pound-for-pound great Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
“We are excited to see what other offers are out there for John. John is 100 percent committed to his fight career and he’s not diminished in his skill set whatsoever,” Dodson’s manager Ricky Kottenstette told MMA Fighting.
The former world title challenger last saw action in August against Merab Dvalishvili where he lost by way of unanimous decision.
Though Dodson had gone 2-4 in his last six fights, his manager insists that his prizefighter is still at the top of his game and is ready to sign with a new promotion.
“John has fought the absolute best in the world in two weight classes and he’s still more than ready to face elite competition,” Kottenstette stressed.
“We look forward to talking to any and all promotions to find John the best home for his future.”
Dodson began training MMA in 2002 after Chris Luttrell, and Greg Jackson recruited him for his extensive wrestling background. After the first day of training he “fell in love with the sport” and continued to train daily with Jackson.
Dodson competed in a Grappler’s Quest and won in the beginner level. Four months later he did another submission tournament, winning that at the intermediate level. Six months later Dodson competed in his first amateur fight. He competed in one other amateur bout before turning pro. Dodson was offered to make his debut in Japan against the number one ranked flyweight in the world, Yasuhiro Urushitani. Dodson lost the fight via decision.
With the lack of fights materializing at flyweight, Dodson began taking fights at featherweight and bantamweight as well. He obtained a 3–2 record before taking a fight against future WEC fighter, Clint Godfrey, winning the fight via decision. With the win over Godfrey, Dodson was selected to be a part of the second season of the Tapout Reality show.
The Ultimate Fighter
In 2011, Dodson had signed with the UFC to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Bisping vs. Team Miller. In the first episode, Dodson fought Brandon Merkt to gain entry into the Ultimate Fighter house. Dodson defeated Merkt in the first round via TKO.
Dodson was selected as a part of Team Mayhem, he was the first bantamweight chosen for the team (fourth overall). Dodson defeated John Albert via unanimous decision in the preliminary round and moved onto the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals Dodson was selected to fight Team Mayhem teammate, Johnny Bedford. After a close first round, Dodson won the fight via KO in the first minute of the second round. The win moved Dodson into the finals. The impressive finish also won Dodson an additional $25,000 for the fan voted “Knockout of the Season”.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Dodson made his UFC debut on December 3, 2011 at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale against T.J. Dillashaw to determine the bantamweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter 14.
Dodson won the fight via TKO in the first round to become the first Bantamweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter competition. He received an additional $40,000 for winning Knockout of the Night honors.
For his next fight, Dodson moved back down to the flyweight division and was expected to face Darren Uyenoyama on May 5, 2012 at UFC on Fox 3. However, Uyenoyama was forced out of the bout, and was replaced by promotional newcomer Tim Elliott. Dodson defeated Elliott by unanimous decision, generating crowd booing.
Dodson faced promotional newcomer Jussier Formiga on October 5, 2012 at UFC on FX 5. He won the fight via TKO in the second round.
Dodson faced UFC Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson on January 26, 2013 at UFC on Fox 6 becoming the first Ultimate Fighter alumnus to fight for a title post-season 5. Despite knocking Johnson down twice in the second round, Dodson lost the fight via unanimous decision in a bout that earned both participants Fight of the Night honors.
Dodson faced promotional newcomer Darrell Montague on October 19, 2013 at UFC 166. He won via knockout at 4:13 of the first round. The win also earned him his second Knockout of the Night award.