UFC 166: John Dodson Should Get Title Shot vs. Johnson-Benavidez Winner

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2013

Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; John Dodson reacts after defeating Darrell Montague (not pictured) by knockout in their flyweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

It took just one stiff left hand from John Dodson for the Jackson's MMA stalwart to significantly up his stock in the UFC's blossoming 125-pound division at UFC 166 on Saturday.

Dodson, whose lone setback in the UFC came against flyweight linchpin Demetrious Johnson, scored an impressive first-round KO over highly touted newcomer Darrell Montague. Dodson pocketed a $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus for his efforts. 

In a post-fight interview with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, Dodson admitted that he felt pressure to not only win, but to deliver a highlight-reel finish.

I had to do something spectacular. If I wanted to get back on another card and fight soon, I've got to end this one [and] win it the way that I just did, and show Dana White and all of the UFC that I'm a badass [and] throw me in another fight. I don't care if it's going to be two weeks [or] three weeks, I'm going to be ready to go.

By doing so, the second-ranked Dodson has effectively positioned himself for another shot at the belt, and unless he accepts a fight in the meantime, The Magician should get the winner of the Johnson/Joseph Benavidez bout at the TUF 18 finale on Nov. 30.

Aside from a bout with the winner of the Johnson/Benavidez title tilt, only a few other sensible matchups exist for Dodson.

The Magician could take on the winner of the Ian McCall/Scott Jorgensen scrap in December, or he could call out the surging John Lineker (No. 5), assuming Lineker gets past Phil Harris at UFC Fight Night 30 on Saturday.

Dodson, who TKO'd the UFC's eighth-ranked bantamweight, T.J. Dillashaw, to win season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter, has already notched wins over three of the top 10 fighters in the flyweight division.

Prior to his time on The Ultimate Fighter, Dodson first earned a unanimous decision over John Moraga [No. 4]The speedy southpaw then scored a unanimous decision over Timothy Elliott (No. 7) before TKO'ing Jussier Formiga (No. 6). 

Although it seems he has the leverage to demand a high-profile fight with either the winner of the Johnson/Benavidez fight or the winner of the McCall/Jorgensen scrap, Dodson told Helwani he just wants to get back in the Octagon.

"(I'll take) anybody that they want to give me," Dodson said. "Please don't put me on the bench. Don't put me on the bench for another six months. I want to go within two or one ... one day. I don't care. Just give me somebody. I want to fight."

Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; John Dodson (red gloves) fights against Darrell Montague (blue gloves) in their flyweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

Regardless of who he gets pitted with in his next outing, Dodson has established himself as a force to take seriously and as the most explosive finisher in the flyweight division.

It's a fine feather in Dodson's cap, especially considering Benavidez, Johnson and McCall each call 125 home.