John Dodson plans ambitious 2023 schedule in hopes of winning BKFC title, beating Kyoji Horiguchi at RIZIN


John Dodson refutes any claim that his career is slowing down just because he’s no longer fighting in the UFC.

In fact, the 38-year-old veteran believes he may be plotting perhaps the most ambitious year of his entire career, after closing 2022 with a first-round knockout over Hideo Tokoro as part of the RIZIN New Year’s Eve card in Japan and then following that up with his fight scheduled at BKFC KnuckleMania 3 on Friday. His upcoming bout in BKFC also kicks off a new three-fight deal Dodson signed with the promotion after making a splashy debut by demolishing fellow UFC veteran Ryan Benoit this past August.

“I’m more excited with the three fight deal because of the fact, now I can go ahead and say I can be a bare-knuckle fighter and there’s no reason not to get me to another title fight ASAP,” Dodson told MMA Fighting. Although I have a more experienced opponent in BKFC [in Jarod Grant],, Ryan Benoit is a stronger fighter. His experience in UFC has shown him to be a strong fighter. He also beat Sergio Pettis, the Bellator champion.

“For me, I want to get the title and continue fighting the best fighters. I’m open to any challenge, no matter what, boxing or MMA, Muay Thai or other striking disciplines they may choose. I’m open to all .”


As it stands, BKFC doesn’t have a men’s flyweight champion, although Dodson isn’t opposed to fighting for a title at bantamweight if that opportunity arises.

He actually anticipated a showdown with ex-BKFC bantamweight champion Johnny Bedford, who Dodson defeated when they were competing on The Ultimate Fighter reality show, but then Bedford made a sudden decision to retire from the sport.

Dodson would like to believe he played at least some small part in that.

“I’d like to think the reason why Johnny Bedford decided to make an early retirement was because he saw what I did in my first BKFC fight, and knowing that he will not be able to keep up with this pace and movement with his slow eyes,” Dodson said. When I learned that he had retired, it was as if I wanted to beat you again .”


Dodson also has plans to return to RIZIN in the future. He wants to conquer the RIZIN flyweight division and pursue a showdown with Kyoji Horiguchi.

It’s a fight that Dodson has long desired, and now he might actually get that opportunity with both fighters under contract to the Japanese promotion.

“I did watch his [last] fight, and you know what? I still think I’m too fast for him,” Dodson said of Horiguchi. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think I’m better than him in every aspect of the game, whether it’s the ground and wrestling or the striking.

” It took him almost three rounds just to finish someone he had previously beaten to win a fight. This would make for a great fight .”

Dodson believes that Horiguchi’s defeat would make him the top flyweight worldwide, no matter what promotion.

” I think that I’m one of the greatest flyweights,” Dodson stated. “Me and [Demetrious Johnson] are 1-1 in those fights, but he has two victories on paper so I’ll consider him to be No. 1 and I’ll be No. 2. From that standpoint, me and him are the two best flyweights regardless of the promotion or what organization it is.”

This all makes for a very busy 2023,, but Dodson would not have it any other.

Dodson is a skilled fighter who wants to be able to compete in MMA, bare-knuckle and other disciplines. This situation would suit him well.

“You’re writing the whole script,” Dodson teased. Have me win the fight and go to RIZIN for the grand prix. Then come back and take home a BKFC championship. This year will be an important one for me because I have the ability to earn title in both different styles of fighting and still be managed in each.

“Not only showing that I’m the more dominant force, but I’m kind of trying to step on the toes of Demetrious Johnson having the fight with Rodtang [Jitmuangnon] being MMA and Muay Thai, but I’m going to go with bare-knuckle and MMA.”