Story by Anthony Springer Jr.
Few words were exchanged between the fighters headlining Saturday’s UFC on Fox 6 card at Chicago’s United Center. But the lack of words shouldn’t be confused with a lack of action on a stacked card that features two of the sport’s fastest fighters in the main event and the final Octagon appearance of a former champion.
Flyweight champion Demtrious Johnson (16-2-1) and challenger John Dodson (15-5) anchor the card. While the boxing fans are familiar with the excitement smaller fighters bring to the squared circle, MMA fans have been slow to warm up to fighters south of the 155-pound lightweight division. Both men hope to change all that Saturday.
“This is the division to watch,” the man called “Mighty Mouse” said. “We bring good footwork and speed. Everything.”
While the phrase “speed kills” is conventional wisdom in MMA, Dodson – a power puncher himself – laid waste to the idea that finishes are automatic when the competition is consistently at a high level.
“A lot of people are talking about us not being able to finish but that comes with the territory,” the Jackson’s MMA fighter said. “If everybody is great, it’s going to be hard to get the finish.”
What was fully on display at the press conference was the respect the two flyweights have for the others’ skill. Neither man boasted and was relatively tame when asked about what advantages they’ll bring to the cage over the other.
“We both have the speed and it just comes to skill set,” a mellow Johnson stated. “I’m not the type to say I’m better than this guy, I just showcase my skills.”
Dodson was equally humble, saying, “I need to try to get him to make more mistakes than I am.”
The usually jovial and lively Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-9) preferred to focus on his fight with fellow slugger Glover Texteira, quickly shutting down questions about his fighting future. While Jackson will not return to the UFC after Saturday, he didn’t discuss his next future. When asked about his opponent’s level of competition, “Rampage” was clear: the man standing opposite him Saturday night is in for a step up.
“He’s never faced anybody like me,” a focused Jackson stated.
Despite claims that he’s going for a knockout victory, Texteira insisted he’s not going to stand in front of Jackson and slug it out.
“I’ve just gotta fight a smart fight. Everybody asks me that quest. It’s not a macho man thing. I’m not going to trade. I’m going to do my fight and try to knock him out.”
UFC on Fox 7 airs Saturday night. Check local listings for time and channel.
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Coming up next: UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson is live from the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, January 26 at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT. Click here for more info