John Dodson wasn’t finished.
That perhaps is the easiest way to explain the reason why the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner decided to stick around the UFC after he entered a free agency period just recently.
Dodson, 33, has competed against the best of the best at both flyweight and bantamweight but he hasn’t become champion yet and that was a major factor in his decision to stay with the UFC.
“I really wanted to make sure I stayed with the UFC because I have some unfinished business there,” Dodson said ahead of his next fight at UFC 228. “I need to take the opportunity to go ahead and beat up those people while I still have the chance to.
“We came to an agreement. It’s going to help me a little bit in the long run cause it let’s me know what I need to do to get that other better deal.”
Dodson will make his return on Saturday night against Jimmie Rivera in a fight that could truly determine his path for the next two years.
A win would put Dodson right back in the thick of the contender’s race at 135 pounds, while a loss would certainly serve as a major setback after inking this new deal.
The moment certainly isn’t lost on Dodson, who knows just how important this fight will be for his future.
“This is make or break,” Dodson said. “I need to make sure I do what I say I’m going to do. I need to knock these people out and make sure I can secure a title shot but not only a title shot but to leave no doubt anybody’s mind that I’m the best.”
If there is one advantage that Dodson has while competing at bantamweight it’s the fact that he holds a knockout over current champion T.J. Dillashaw.
They competed against each other on “The Ultimate Fighter” before Dodson secured the victory over Dillashaw as both athletes were making their UFC debuts.
It’s been several years since that knockout happened but Dodson has no problem reminding Dillashaw that he’s still the only person to ever knock him out since he became a fighter.
Having the opportunity to face Dillashaw and the other top bantamweights in the UFC also played a major part in Dodson’s decision to return.
“That does pique my interest more because I do want to beat up those people,” Dodson said. “T.J. has a title that already belongs to me. He knows it. He’s just waiting for the opportunity to give it to me. He’s just waiting to hand it over.”