John Dodson, who's only been fighting under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner for a little over a year, will join an exclusive club this Saturday night (Jan. 26, 2013) at the UFC on FOX 6 main event from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
He'll be one of six Ultimate Fighter (TUF) champions to challenge for division gold.
After beginning his Octagon career as a bantamweight, "The Magician" made an extra 10 pounds disappear on his way to headlining the "Windy City" fight card opposite UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, who captured the promotion's first-ever 125-pound championship belt against Joseph Benavidez last September.
It's a far cry from the confines of the combat sports reality show.
That's where Dodson made history against fellow TUF 14 finalist T.J. Dillashaw. After blowing through Brandon Merkt, John Albert and Johnny Bedford, the former high school wrestling state champion out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, put himself just one win away from the coveted "six-figure contract."
Here's how it all went down.
No touch of gloves in the battle of Team Alpha Male vs. Team Jackson and the former opens with a push kick that brushes the bread basket. Dodson gallops in and staggers his rival with a stinging left hand. He follows up with a left high kick that sails wide and Dillashaw backs him up with counter punches.
They reset and meet back in the center of the Octagon.
Dillashaw lands two kicks to the body and retreats as Dodson returns fire. A brief tie-up and they break away, exchanging punches on the push off. "You wonder when T.J. is going to look to take this fight to the ground," remarks cageside color commentator Joe Rogan.
Something the Sacramento-based wrestling phenom would also wonder long after this fight.
Dodson easily connects on an inside low kick as his opponent lumbers in with his hands held high. Dillashaw leaves his chin exposed on a forward advance just as Dodson sidesteps in defense, who then cracks him with a hard left and sends him to the canvas in a bewildered daze.
"The Magician" pounces and it only takes a trio of hammerfists for him to get tackled by referee Herb Dean.
Just as the fight is stopped, Dillashaw jumps to his feet in protest. "That was a very good stoppage," contends Rogan. "T.J. complained a bit, but he was on unbelievably wobbly legs when he got up."
Dodson graduates TUF 14 as its bantamweight champion. But how will he leave UFC on FOX 6? For a closer look at his upcoming title fight against "Mighty Mouse," as well as his unlikely climb to the top of the flyweight division, click here and here.