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Just a man on the job, Demetrious Johnson has a message for John Dodson, bullies and boxers.
Johnson (Twitter: @MightyMouseUFC) will put his UFC flyweight title on the line at UFC on Fox 8 against John Moraga, which takes place on July 27 at the Key Arena in Seattle, Wash. Before “Mighty Mouse” moves on to his next opponent, he has to straighten something out with an old foe.
Johnson, the first ever UFC flyweight champion, defended his title one time, and it was against John Dodson at UFC on Fox 6. The bout was a high paced, back and forth battle, which the judges scored in Johnson’s favor. There was no animosity between the two 125-pound combatants ahead of the match, but a statement on Johnson’s behalf was misconstrued and the champ has a message for “The Ultimate Fighter 14” winner.
“I saw that John Dodson thought I was talking a lot of crap about him because I said he’s explosive, and I want to clear the air,” Johnson told Jason Kelly and Corey Charron on MMA DieHards Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “John Dodson is an amazing athlete, a great fighter; he has amazing technique and skill set. When I was trying to get a point across I said that his greatest asset that I was worried about was his explosiveness. That’s the only thing I was worried about. I know he has great technique and all that other stuff, I’m not saying that’s all he has. In my general category, when I go into fight him, that’s the only thing I worried about. How he can explode on people and knock them out. He took it the opposite way and thought I said, ‘He’s just explosive and that’s all he has.’ That’s the only thing I was worried about against him. He’s a great fighter, has a great skill set, great athlete, amazing ambassador for the sport. I just wanted to clear that up on the air. I hope this gets back to him so he knows I wasn’t disrespecting him.”
Johnson is never one to call out a fighter, nor is he one to back down from a challenge, even if that test comes from another genre of combat sports.
Every MMA fan in the world enjoyed former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture having his way with the highly decorated boxer, James Toney. Recently from the boxing world, heavyweight Tyson Fury has been calling out UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. The boxer versus MMA fighter debate is one that is unlikely to ever end, and Johnson wouldn’t mind the challenge in the cage or the squared circle.
“If I was offered to fight a boxer in the Octagon, straight up, I’d be fine,” Johnson said. “Let’s say I was offered to fight Floyd Mayweather in the Octagon, and they were like, ‘I’m going to give you one million (dollars) of my money, but you got to do all you can to promote;’ I would do everything in my power to promote that fight and make boxing money any day of the week.
“Especially if it was mixed martial arts, but if it was boxing, it would be much tougher. If the money was right and my coach thought it was OK and the UFC was OK with that, then hell yeah I’d fight. Why not? I mean, you might as well.”
Johnson isn’t calling any boxers out, that’s not his style. He doesn’t see the need to talk about opponents or people in a slanderous fashion, or be the instigator in an effort to start a fight, and he travelled to share his beliefs on bullying.
The UFC and AMC Pankration teammate visited Las Vegas schools to talk to kids about bullying. Various forms of victimization were touched upon, and Johnson pulled from his past experiences to inform students of the effects of bullying.
“I was on the opposite end (of bullying),” Johnson said. “I tell my wife my bullying stories and she’s like, ‘What about the time you got jumped?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I call that part of life. That’s what happens, it just happens.’ Obviously I’m a grown man now, so I can look back at it and it’s funny, but at the same time it’s like, what can you do about it? It’s part of life, it happens, but hopefully I can spread my word about how when I look back at it now I wish it never did happen. Maybe I wish it did happen because it made me who I am. Maybe if I didn’t get beat up I would be the person who bullied people, or maybe I’m happy those guys did beat me up because it made me not want to beat anybody else up.”
Johnson, once bullied on, is now a UFC champion. Things may have changed in regards to who can mess with him these days, but not much else is different about the humble champion.
For a history-making UFC champion with fame and money, Johnson does an outstanding job of staying true to himself and keeping his ego in check.
“I’m just me being me and I won’t change for nobody,” Johnson said. “You know, they say when people stumble upon a lot of money they change. I guess I just haven’t stumbled upon enough money to make me change, or I don’t think there is enough money to make me change. I still do the same thing every day: I get up, I wash dishes, I head to the gym and train, come home and my wife has dinner cooked for me. I tell her don’t wash the dishes, I’ll do that. I’m just a man trying to pay my bills, and the way I do that is by fighting.”
Birchak (Twitter: @abirchakMMA) won the first-ever MFC bantamweight match at MFC 37 when he defeated Ryan Benoit. The match was fight of the caliber, so we’ll get Birchak’s thoughts on the bout and see what’s next for the Arizonian.
Kelly and Charron will also recap UFC on FX 8, as well as dissect UFC 160, which takes place Saturday.
UFC on FX 8 started a tad slow, but finished strong with a slick submission and vicious knockout.
In the night’s main event, UFC veteran Vitor Belfort annihilated forever Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.
In a moment of hilarity, Rockhold fell when attempting a head kick at the beginning of the bout, but hopped up before Belfort could attack. Belfort threw an, out of character, spinning head-kick that came nowhere near connecting with Rockhold. Vitor displayed his quick hands and stalked Rockhold down with punches, but the former Strikeforce standout didn’t absorb a lot of damage. Then, Belfort attempted another spinning head-kick, only this time his heel planted directly on Rockhold’s temple. The UFC debutant collapsed to the ground and Belfort finished him off with a few punches.
Belfort has won four of his last five outings- that sole loss came against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones- and he finished those four adversaries. The victory surely places Belfort extremely close to title contention.
Rockhold, though, lost the fight and had a nine-fight winning streak put to an end, should still be a Top 10 middleweight in the UFC.
In the opening round of his first UFC bout, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza put a stop to Chris Camozzi.
Camozzi kept his distance in an effort to avoid a Souza’s takedowns. “Jacare” got a hold of Camozzi, but the American reversed Souza against the cage. Souza broke away and then accomplished a takedown. Camozzi did exceptionally well defending Souza’s superb transitions, but the inevitable ensued.
“Jacare” worked intelligently, while utilizing his craftiness until sinking in an arm-triangle choke. Within seconds Camozzi was unconscious and referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in to end the match.
Souza won his UFC debut and extended his win streak to four straight victories. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion also requested the winner of the main event on UFC on FX 8, Belfort, following his submission of Camozzi.
Camozzi, due to the loss, had his four-fight win streak broken.
Rafael dos Anjos won a close decision against Evan Dunham at UFC on FX 8.
Dunham was on the defense for the first minute of the bout, but turned up the pace by mid-round. Dunham showed good speed, but didn’t utilize his reach to it’s full potential. While dos Anjos was mixing up a wide variety of strikes, Dunham was basically boxing and throwing the odd leg kick, nonetheless, the fight stayed eventful. Dunham got dos Anjos to the mat, but after a lackluster minute, the referee stood the combatants up.
In Round 2, Dunham started with a flurry of hard punches and hit a double-leg takedown. It wasn’t long before dos Anjos was up and retaliating. Dunham opened a cut on dos Anjos’ right eyebrow, but the Brazilian was winning the exchanges on their feet. Dunham managed to get a takedown at the end of the second frame, but the buzzer sounded immediately after the two fighters hit the mat.
Round 3 looked similar to the opening frame, as Dunham used boxing and a minimal amount of leg kicks, while dos Anjos mixed up strikes. Dunham could not complete a takedown, but he kept dos Anjos guessing. Both combatants put on an exciting show towards the end of the bout by standing in the pocket and tagging each other with punches until the time clock expired.
Dos Anjos won the match via decision (29-28×3) and is on a four-fight win streak.
Dunham, however, is 3-2 in his last five fights.
Rafael Natal, through a combination of intelligent striking, smooth Brazilian jiu-jitsu and an opponent’s exhaustion, defeated UFC newcomer João Zeferino.
Zeferino and Natal spent a large part of possible heel-hook positions. They stayed just busy enough to not get stood up by the referee due to lack of action, but the strikes thrown were not effective. The two mixed martial artists were eventually instructed by the referee to stand up, but with only 25 seconds left in the opening frame not much was attempted before the round ended.
Zeferino attempted a high number of kicks and punches, but Natal remained calm and evaded any damage. As Zeferino tired, he attempted an effortless takedown that Natal denied with ease. Zeferino, on the ground from a punch Natal hit him with, laid exhausted and “Sapo” dropped into his opponent’s guard with a punch. Natal finished the round on top of Zeferino, battering him with punches.
Natal pressed forward in Round 3. He elevated his output of strikes, yet avoided a drained Zeferino’s attacks. Natal took down Zeferino midway through the round and started working for a submission. “Sapo” continued bashing Joao Zeferino with fists when he couldn’t nail a submission until the match finalized.
Natal won a decision (30-27, 29-28×2) and is now and has won two consecutive bouts since losing to Andrew Craig in July 2012.
Zeferino’s UFC debut and seven-fight win streak were spoiled with the loss.