Six weeks removed from a failed bid for the UFC flyweight title, John Dodson (14-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC) doesn’t yet know when he’ll see the octagon again, but that isn’t keeping him from staying busy.
Quite the opposite, in fact, as “The Magician” is both taking on bully across the globe and preparing for a shot at “American Ninja Warrior” fame.
“I got right back into it,” Dodson told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I got back home on Sunday, started looking at what I did in the fight and then I was back in the gym on Monday, and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve just been training and teaching and helping everybody else get ready for their fights.”
Dodson, of course, headlined this past January’s UFC on FOX 6 event, where he took the opening two rounds of his championship fight with Demetrious Johnson before ultimately losing the final three and dropping a decision to “Mighty Mouse.” Johnson said he didn’t bother with any time off after the loss and instead immediately reviewed what went wrong in an effort to correct his mistakes.
“There were some things that helped me get here to where I was, and I just tossed them to the side,” Dodson said. “I thought I was walking forward a lot more than what I was. I thought I was in the center of the cage. Apparently not.
“I just need to get back to throwing down and going balls to the wall and hitting everybody as hard as I can.”
While he waits for the UFC to offer up his next assignment, Dodson said he’s staying busy in the gym and also has a few side projects in the works. First is a partnership with the anti-bullying website BullyVille.com. Dodson, who in high school was once hogtied and pelted with paintballs, said it was a cause near to his heart.
“When I was in high school, it was my freshman year, and I was a new kid at a new school,” Dodson said. “I didn’t know anybody, but I was just as happy as I am now. Everyone else just took it as me being a cocky or arrogant person. They wanted to try and set an example and try and put me in my place, but I never changed my attitude and never changed who I was.”
Instead, the always-outgoing Dodson said he relied on his personality to help diffuse the situation, and it’s an approach he hopes to share with others through his relationship with BullyVille.com.
“I want everyone to know that if you’re being bullied, you’re not the only one who’s going through it,” Dodson said. “You can’t let them feel like they’re going to overpower you and then feel less about yourself. Bullying only affects you if you let it. All the people that bullied me eventually became my friend because they realized that they couldn’t break me down one bit because my personality was so charming.
“The thing I learned and that my mom always emphasized was that you kill people with kindness. People don’t know what to do when you’re kind to them. They want a reaction to you, and they want you to get angry. If they’re angry at you and you get angry at them, you let them beat you. The way that you overcome it is you just change their attitude. Tell a joke. Let them know they didn’t faze you. Give them a hug.”
But Dodson said his free time hasn’t been solely spent on community projects. Instead, the 28-year-old has his eyes set on a very different venture: a spot on the sports competition show “American Ninja Warrior,” where contestants look to complete a ninja-inspired obstacle course – albeit with relatively little success through the show’s first four seasons.
“I’m trying to get my ‘Ninja Warrior’ training on,” Dodson said. “I want to get on that show. I have nothing lined up right now, so I’m going to try my best to get on it.”
Dodson said UFC officials have cleared him to try out for the show, as long as he doesn’t have a bout agreement signed. With open tryouts being held next month and no fight on the horizon, Dodson said the timing seems right.
“I like being athletic, and I like having fun, and that seems like a fun show to go and try out for,” Dodson said.
And so go the days of the top UFC flyweight and former winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 14.” Despite the loss, his spirits remain high. And while he’s keeping himself busy on the meantime, Dodson is looking very forward to getting back in the cage.
“I’m at the academy every day,” Dodson said. “I’m trying to get ready for anything that’s going on.”