As John Dodson prepares to fight for the UFC Flyweight championship on Jan. 26, he may have to contend with more than just the fighting abilities of champ Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
Dodson, who won the “The Ultimate Fighter” (TUF): 14 bantamweight tournaments back in 2011, is only one of 14 fighters to earn a title shot after competing on the show. If he can defeat Johnson and win the flyweight belt, he will be only the fourth TUF contestant to win a UFC championship.
While there has been no official labeling of a “TUF Curse”, there has been a trend of fighters who have competed for a UFC championship, only to come up short in the end.
Out of the 13 remaining fighters, only Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans and Matt Serra were able to win a UFC championship. Griffin defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson three years after he won the TUF 1 Light Heavyweight tournament. Evans, who won the TUF 2 Heavyweight competition, took the title from Griffin back at UFC 92. After winning TUF 4, Serra received a title shot against welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre April 2007 and won the belt by first-round TKO.
Since Evan’s title victory in 2008, no TUF competitor, whether they won or lost, has won a UFC title. TUF constants like Gray Maynard, Josh Koscheck and Nate Quarry fought their way to UFC title matches, only to come away with a loss on their records. Kenny Florian, a finalist in the TUF 1 Middleweight tournament, fought and lost in three UFC championship matches, two at lightweight and one at featherweight.
The most recent TUF competitor to fight in a title match was TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz, who faced Benson Henderson back in December 2012. Henderson would dominate the match in all five rounds.
Even if he does win the title, there is the task of successfully defending it. Neither Griffin nor Evans nor Serra was ever successful in their first title defenses. After he took the title from Griffin, Evans dropped the belt to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98. Serra would lose the title to St-Pierre in their rematch just one year after their first fight.
Dodson is already an underdog going into this fight against Johnson. If he can win the title, not only will he prove his critics wrong, but also break this trend of TUF fighters failing to capture UFC gold.
What do you think of Dodson’s chances against Mighty Mouse? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA.