Exclusive: Mighty Mouse Discusses Fight with Dodson, Benavidez vs. McCall & the Flyweights
Fans in Chicago witnessed a fantastic, dramatic & exciting flyweight title bout on Saturday night at UFC on Fox 6. UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson & John Dodson battled for 25 minutes in a bout that seemingly put the division on the map.
Dodson took the first two rounds on many people’s scorecards dropping the champ a few times. But Johnson stayed calm & when Dodson began to fade early in the third round the 26-year-old Johnson took over earning a unanimous decision in defense of the title he won in September.
Going into the bout we knew that Johnson would have the advantage in speed while Dodson was the more powerful of the two. Johnson also had an edge having been through a five round fight before where Dodson had yet to go through that experience thus far in his career. As much as Johnson was prepared for Dodson’s striking he still found himself surprised at how strong Dodson was.
All in all Johnson was happy he walked away the winner with the belt still wrapped around his waist, but he also knows there’s always room for improvement.
“Dodson is a great fighter, he has a lot of power and it was a great fight,” Johnson told BJPenn.Com Radio. “I thought my performance was pretty good, I wish I didn’t have to get dropped a couple of times in the fight, but he’s tricky and it took me awhile to find my groove in there. Overall I’m glad I got to display different aspects of my game including the Muay Thai and the pressure I usually don’t show when I fight. I have to say I was happy with the whole outcome.”
What would a UFC fight be without a little controversy? At one point during the fourth round Johnson had control of Dodson against the cage and was scoring points with his knees, but Dodson kept putting his hand down on the canvas in order to stop those strikes. It seems Johnson landed a knee to the face of Dodson who had his hand on the mat constituting an illegal strike and the fight was stopped so the doctor’s could check on Dodson’s eye. Some have questioned the rule and how some fighters seem to take advantage of it; Johnson had his own opinion in the subject.
“I believe a downed opponent is a guy who has at least one knee down on the ground,” assessed Johnson. “It really is a funky rule; I agree that if you have a knee on the ground then you’re good otherwise if it’s just a hand then it’s a little bit of a touchy subject. It’s definitely something that should be looked at.”
The fight that Dodson and Johnson put on will certainly help bring credibility to the flyweight division, but the fact remains the pickings for Johnson’s next opponent are relatively slim. Two of the top ranked fighters are facing off this weekend at UFC 156 when Joseph Benavidez takes on Ian McCall, two guys Johnson has defeated in the past year. Some fans have called for an immediate rematch with Dodson, but that doesn’t look as though it will happen.
“I’m not sure, the UFC always has their plans and they have Joe Silva and Sean Shelby who both do a great job of making marquee matches,” Mighty Mouse admitted. “I’m really excited about the match-up this weekend between McCall and Benavidez. My job is just to continue to get better and let my body heal up so I’ll be ready to fight again.”
Speaking of McCall he was recently a guest on BJPenn.Com Radio and he told us he wanted to be feared and had plans on destroying Benavidez. If that did come to fruition, Johnson wouldn’t be the only one to be surprised.
“I’d be shocked and say he did a good job,” said the 26-year-old Washington resident. “I’ve always liked Ian, he’s always looking to go out there and hurt somebody. I find it very humorous, but it’s going to be a great fight. Benavidez is tough, he trains with the best fighters in the world so we’ll see how it goes.”
Johnson’s bouts against McCall, Benavidez and Dodson all went the distance and were all hard fought victories. All three of those opponents present different problems for Johnson, but did one of them offer a tougher test than the other two?
“All three of them are all tough, they all present different challenges,” Johnson admitted. “I would say Dodson presents the challenge of the power and he was the squirmiest one because he does a good job of keeping distance between himself and his opponents. Benavidez and McCall are both more dynamic because they will fight you on the ground and try and submit you. When I fought Dodson I didn’t have to worry about any of that. I knew I could get in on Dodson and fight in the clinch where as McCall can fight in the clinch and I know Benavidez likes to throw from there.”