John Dodson describes the transition from MMA to bare-knuckle boxing: “It’s about touching them and not being touched.”

John Dodson, BKFC, UFC

John Dodson is using skills he learned in mixed martial arts and implementing them into bare knuckle boxing. 

After a near two-decade MMA career, Dodson made his bare knuckle boxing debut in August 2022 at BKFC 28. He secured a first-round KO win over Ryan Benoit. Six months later, he finished Jarod Grant at BKFC KnuckleMania 3. 

During an interview with MiddleEasy, Dodson spoke about how he’s used his MMA mindset in bare knuckle.

“My regimen for bare-knuckle is the same thing that I continuously do for MMA and I’m making sure that I can go ahead and have that transition and be pretty much seem less like all my training is there towards MMA and I’m making sure that I’m making the case so I can go ahead and do both. Bare knuckle has given me another platform to keep me active and stay busy, and making sure I can strike within those ranges… I’m just staying outside of kicking range all the time.”

“I’m not worried about the whole general mindset and mentality of being me and kicking and takedown, Jiu-Jitsu like that makes MMA such a different type of animal but bare knuckle still has same parameters of a striking round… it’s the same type of ideals. I have to use the same type of angles, same type of footworks and same type of in and out motions that I always have done for so many years.”

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“This world of bare knuckles is about being touched. It’s about touching them and not being touched at all and I can continue to hit them as many times in different variations of different angles because the fact that they haven’t figured it out just yet that this is not boxing and it’s not MMA, it’s its own animal, we have to make sure that we can be pretty much like fencers to be able to strike a point at the opponent.” (h/t Middle Easy)

John Dodson Has Had Success in MMA

Dodson has had a successful bare-knuckle boxing career so far. The Albuquerque native is a former UFC flyweight and bantamweight. He won “The Ultimate Fighter 14” in December 2011. The TKO win over T.J. Dillashaw earned him knockout of the night honors. He would go on to fight in the UFC for nine years, competing in two weight divisions. He has notable wins over Nathanial Wood, Pedro Munhoz, Eddie Wineland and Tim Elliot. 

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Despite a move to bare-knuckle boxing, Dodson is still a mixed martial artist. “The Magician” last fought in MMA in December 2022. He secured a first-round KO win over Hideo Tokoro at Rizin 40.