John Dodson ready to represent Philippines in UFC
MANILA, Philippines – John Dodson may be half-Filipino, but he is wholeheartedly willing to don the colors of the Philippines inside and outside the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s famed Octagon.
After Mark Muñoz had a storybook ending to his prizefighting career in May 2015, Dodson is eager to fill in the void and become the flag bearer of the Philippines in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization.
“Why not carry a torch that everyone has passed around? I want to make sure that we continue on representing the Philippines the best way possible,” he told Rappler.
Known by the moniker "The Magician," Dodson rose to prominence when he joined the 14th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality television series in 2011 as a bantamweight contestant.
Dodson defeated future bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw via first-round stoppage in the show's finale to get a 6-figure contract with the UFC.
The 31-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is in the country for a 4-day promotional tour and also served the carrier of good news when he publicly announced on Thursday, June 23 that the UFC will have its second venture on Philippine soil on October 15.
Dodson had no second thoughts when the promotion made the offer for him to go to the Philippines as he grew up knowing he is a Filipino.
“For the longest time, I didn’t know that I was black. Everyone was telling me that I am Filipino while I was growing up,” he recalled.
The 5-foot-3 Jackson-Wink MMA standout admitted that he has to fast track learning the Philippines’ history and culture within his 4-day stay in the archipelago.
“I am trying to absorb it as quickly as possible. It’s kind of jumping into a deep pool because they are asking the same question,” Dodson said, “I am more American than anything else. I want to learn more Filipino ways.”
According to Dodson, he was able to get a glimpse of the Philippine way of life from his mother, whom he looked up to in his life.
“My mother is a very loving woman. She always taught me that anything I can do I can be. She to make sure that I’m going to do as hard as possible to make my life the way I wanted to be,” he shared.
Dodson considers setting foot on his mother’s homeland as a dream come true because it is one way of knowing his roots, which he intends to pass on to his children.
“Right now, all I want to know is how much culture that I can absorb. So I can go ahead and introduce it to my family. And have the growing history of my heritage,” he stressed.
If he will emerge as the new face of Filipino fighters in the UFC, Dodson conveyed that he will welcome it with arms wide open.
“If I have to get to be the next ambassador [of the Philippines in the UFC], I am going to do it with a great smile and keep on knocking out people with my heavy hands,” he ended.
Dodson is set to host a public workout and a meet-and-greet session at Robinsons Place in Manila onSaturday, June 25. – Rappler.com