Dodson has found a new MMA home by signing with the Japanese-based promotion RIZIN. ‘The Magician’ will debut against veteran Hideo Tokoro, who is 45 years old and holds a record of 35-31-2. The former UFC title challenger confirmed the fight announcement on Instagram by saying”
“I’m fighting Dec 31 in Japan. Let’s end the year right with this win”
The newest RIZIN signing joined the UFC in 2021 with an 11-5 pro-MMA record. He won his contract on The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 when Dodson ended up in the finals against T.J. Dillashaw and won by first-round knockout. ‘The Magician’ finished his UFC tenure with a promotional record of 10-7.
Watch John Dodson finish T.J. Dillashaw in The Ultimate Fighter 14 finale below:
— JReal (@BloodyCanvasJon) December 3, 2020
Dodson parted ways with the UFC after losing to Merab Dvalishvili in August 2020, which is usually a death sentence for most fighters’ careers. The former Ultimate Fighter Season 14 winner took a year off and returned in a disappointing loss to Cody Gibson at XMMA3.
‘The Magician’ didn’t give up there. He bounced back with a unanimous decision win against Francisco Rivera Jr. at XMMA4. Things started to turn around when Dodson signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. He delivered a phenomenal performance in his debut by knocking out Ryan Benoit in 40 seconds.
Who is John Dodson fighting at RIZIN 40?
Hideo Tokoro made his professional MMA debut in 2000 and has fought the likes of Royler Gracie, Royce Gracie, Kyoji Horiguchi, Kron Gracie, and Brad Pickett. ‘Little Volk’ lost his last fight in July against Makoto Takahashi. The 45-year-old could have another trick up his sleeve for win number 36, but Dodson’s speed advantage is likely a concern.
Dodson seems to be enjoying the freedom of not being in a restrictive contract. ‘The Magician’ is still able to fight with BKFC and now has an opportunity to chase a flyweight MMA world title. Only time will tell what kind of success the former UFC will have in Japan.