Listen up, Dana White.
John Dodson has a master plan. He wants to conquer the UFC, starting Saturday night and ending with titles in three weight divisions.
Dodson says he can knock out featherweight contender Conor McGregor. He says he’s the only flyweight capable of defeating champion Demetrious Johnson, and he plans to do it the next time they fight. And he intends to ensure a second bout with Johnson by scoring a spectacular win over Zach Makovsky in the prelims of UFC 187.
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If White, the UFC president, wasn’t paying attention before, he is now. Dodson’s confidence is impossible to ignore.
Defeating Makovsky is just the first step in Dodson’s plan to become the UFC’s pound-for-pound king, a title he says should already be his. What he really wants is a chance to hold three championship belts at the same time, and he wants to believe White and the UFC are behind his ambitious goal.
“I hope so because I keep talking about it, and Dana White loves me,” Dodson said Thursday at UFC 187 Media Day at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “Everybody seems to love me. If they all have my back on this, I’m willing to do it. I want to prove to everybody that the pound-for-pound king is somebody that can hold titles in every division.”
And what about McGregor, the loquacious Irish fighter who faces featherweight champ Jose Aldo at UFC 189 in July? Dodson believes McGregor will defeat Aldo, so he’s next in line.
Dodson, who says his normal weight when he’s not in training is 158 pounds, sees no problem competing at the 145-pound limit. And he sees no problem handling McGregor, who has a six-inch height advantage over the 5-foot-3 Dodson.
“The fight with me and McGregor is going to be me hitting him a lot and then watching him fall,” Dodson said. “McGregor is going to sit there and try to out-point me and out-move me, and I know his game is to be in and out. So with his in-out motion, he’s going to try and be faster than me, and that’s going to hard for him to do.
“He’s a bigger man, but I’m probably the fastest man that he’ll ever face in the Octagon.”
All of his boasting isn’t lost on White, but the UFC boss said Dodson might be getting ahead of himself.
“I love the fact that he’s that confident in himself, but you’ve got to get through the baddest dude in the sport right now -- and especially in the division -- in Demetrious Johnson,” White said. “They fought once, and I’ll give it to Dodson. He was young and green when they fought the first time, but he’s got a tall order.
“If he beats Demetrious and then defends the title a few times, then he can start talking about other weight classes.”
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In fact, Dodson used a stinging left hand to knock down Mighty Mouse three times when they fought in January 2013. But Johnson scored a unanimous decision to defend his title.
“I gave him so much respect in that first fight that I was actually in awe of his recovery time and in awe of being in his presence and just the man that was there,” Dodson said. “It was the whole situation. I got lost in all that instead of fighting my own fight.”
Since that defeat, Dodson has beaten Darrell Montague and John Moraga to improve his record to 17-6. He said he’s ready to fight for the championship again because he’s the only flyweight capable of defeating Johnson.
“I know I’m the only guy that can beat Demetrious Johnson in this division,” he said emphatically. “I’m the greatest fighter in the UFC. I should be the No. 1 guy in the world pound for pound, and that’s how I look at it in my own eyes.
“I’ve told everybody I’m going to be a three-weight king, and everybody is wondering what that means. I’m going to show them. I’ve been telling people since Day 1 of The Ultimate Fighter that I’m going to hold titles at 125, 135 and 145. I’m going to stand true to that to this day.”
But first he needs to get past Makovsky, a former Bellator champion, to make that happen.
“Getting a chance to fight a guy that already knows what it’s like to have gold around his waist is amazing,” Dodson said. “Zach is a tremendous athlete. He knows what it feels like to be a champion. But I want to make sure I stop him from ruining my dreams of being a UFC champion.”
And then, maybe Dodson will get a rematch with Johnson.
“I’m dying to see that fight again,” White said.