Flyweight title contender John Dodson spent over two years trashing champion Demetrious Johnson in pursuit of a rematch of their 2013 bout, which he lost by decision. Last Saturday at UFC 191, Dodson finally got his second crack at "Mighty Mouse" but once again walked away in defeat.
Despite losing, the smiling warrior decided to keep things positive, this time around, when discussing his own efforts as well as those of the champion. "[Johnson] was more intelligent this time. I was trying to defend more takedowns, he was just trying to push that pace. DJ did a wonderful job at that," he admitted, at the UFC 191 post-fight press conference.
"He came at me. My hat's off to him. I can't sit there and bad mouth him because this man is still the champion and he did something that everyone saw him doing. I couldn't stop him."
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Dodson was actually able to stop many of Johnson's early takedown attempts, however, and was proud of the fact that he managed to briefly take down the champ several times himself. "I stopped his takedowns and I'm excited that I actually got three," Dodson said, before smiling through his swollen face and pumping his right fist in the air.
"I'm keeping it on the high-notes, guys. Like, I might not be the champion but, in my eyes, I improved from the last time me and him fought."
In fact, Dodson believed that both he and Johnson have improved a great deal. The challenger had previously criticized Johnson for not being exciting or aggressive enough, but had to concede that the champ did some real damage on his face this time around.
"Both of us have evolved," he said.
"We showed that. He showed that he has more aggressive power, coming at me. He landed a lot more shots on my face. I look like a monster."
After losing to the dominant king of the 125-pound division, Dodson understands that he may have a long road ahead of him in order to get a third crack at championship gold. He was resolute, however, in promising that he will beat whoever it takes to do exactly that.
"I'm going to make sure I can come back and come back stronger," he ended.
"If [UFC president] Dana [White] gives me the opportunity to beat up a whole bunch of people who seem worthy to fight Demetrious, I will do it. I will make sure that I can make another title run at this, again."