John Dodson says he “always wanted to go back” to 135 lbs., “already destroyed” champ T.J. Dillashaw

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

John Dodson’s return to the bantamweight division is something he’s had on his mind for a while. The cut to 125 lbs. had been wreaking havoc on his body at times, and two losses to Champ Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson made his flyweight prospects bleaker, but it was his past win over current Bantamweight Champ T.J. Dillashaw that had him looking ahead to the a 135 lb. return.

“I always wanted to go back,” Dodson said in an interview with “I told people for a while that I wanted to go back to 135, and despite such a dominant run at 125 I could not secure a title – D.J. is a phenomenal fighter and he beat me for a second time, I’m not going to sit there and say anything bad about it, there was nothing outside my life that changed the outcome of the fight. I went in to fight and I ended up losing.

“So I had to make a career decision – do I want to stay at 125 and be a place holder or do I want to go to a new division and make a run at it, a  run at a different weight class and beat somebody up that I’ve already destroyed?”

Dodson’s been trying to set up any exciting fight that makes sense, and though several names have been locked up in other bouts, Dodson became the first man to call out Thomas Almeida after the undefeated Brazilian’s latest victory.

“I feel so comfortable that I was willing to jump into the fire to fight TJ Dillashaw or Urijah Faber and neither of those wanted to work right away so I’ve been calling out every fighter,” Dodson said. “Sean Shelby’s been telling me, ‘Go ahead and pick out a couple people.’ And then when Brian Stann was so quick to say no one would call out Thomas Almeida, before he even finished that sentence I had my manager on the phone trying to get that matchup set up. You wanna fight Thomas Almeida? Why not?

“I love the fact that if he wants to stand and bang with me, that’s what I want to do. I’m not going to try to take you down, I’m not going to try to out-grapple you, I’m not going to try to out-wrestle you, I’m going to try to out-strike you. I want to put my fist through your face and continue to hit you with a smile on my face with that murderous intent and I will be ecstatic doing it.”

Penick’s Analysis: Dodson-Almeida would be an intriguing fight, but I’m not sure how much that matchup plays to Dodson’s strengths. Almeida’s taller with a much longer reach, and has been great at utilizing that reach to beat up his opponents to date. Dodson’s got the power to put guys out at either flyweight or bantamweight, we saw it happen with that Dillashaw fight, but he may have trouble with some of the faster, rangier guys.

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