Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Tonight (Dec. 3, 2011), bantamweights T.J. Dillashaw and John Dodson will enter the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada, to determine who will emerge as this season's 135-pound winner.
Besides receiving the honor of having his hand raised in front of the thousands in attendance and the multitudes watching live on Spike TV, the winner will also earn himself a "six-figure" Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract.
Dillashaw and Dodson are both examples of the recent increased effort being made by the UFC to select participants for TUF series who have respectable mixed martial arts (MMA) backgrounds, as opposed to just being personalities who will stir the pot.
Dillashaw trains with the likes of Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez out of the highly esteemed Team Alpha Male camp in Sacramento, Calif., while Dodson -- who would likely be a prime candidate for the UFC's new flyweight division (125-pounds) when it begins competition -- is a seven-year veteran of the sport who trains out of the Jackson's MMA camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After the jump, we'll look at why Dillashaw may have some extra motivation to take out Dodson and to do it decisively.
During his time on the reality television series, Dodson came across largely (ironic pun intended) as a loud-mouth. Let's be real: He came off like a jerk.
He was obnoxious. He was disloyal to his team. He wasn't very classy after his wins. He made some friends in the house, but he made a lot more enemies.
In a recent interview with MMA Weekly, Dillashaw divulged that some of those enemies have leaked inside information, inferring that Dodson may not believe he has much of a chance in tonight's finale match up:
"He's not going to be able to talk his way out of this one. Even some of those guys on his team and some other guys in the house said John Dodson didn't really want to fight me. He was just in there saying if he was going to lose, he might as well lose to the guy you thought was the best. So that was the way he was looking at it."
Whether Dodson actually used those words or not is strictly conjecture. Either way, Dillashaw wants to make one things clear: He does his talking in the cage.
"I'm not one of those crap talkers. I kind of like to respect everybody and show everything in the cage. Kind of like to talk crap with my fists. We'll see who's going to prevail here, the guy who likes to talk a lot and builds confidence that way or someone who believes in themselves and bring it when you can in the fight."
It definitely should be interesting. Both fighters have great wrestling bases. Both fighters come from phenomenal camps. Only one can emerge victorious.
So who will it be, Maniacs? Will Dillashaw shut Dodson up, once and for all? Or will Dodson's low center of gravity and deceptive reach be too much to overcome?