John Dodson will make his debut on New Year’s Eve after signing a multi-fight agreement with RIZIN. There are still hopes to fight Kyoji Horiguchi.


John Dodson has signed a multi-fight agreement with RIZIN, almost exactly 18 year after his last fight in Japan.

Dodson has been booked to fight in his debut bout at the upcoming New Years Eve card. The event will feature many fighters from Bellator MMA. Dodson will be facing Hideo Tokoro, his flyweight opponent in Dodson’s first fight for the promotion. The bout is scheduled for December. 31.

According to Dodson, his deal with RIZIN is a long time coming after he originally agreed to join the promotion shortly after his release from the UFC, but the global pandemic prevented him from actually traveling and competing in Japan.

“I was trying to fight [Kyoji] Horiguchi when the UFC released me,” Dodson told MMA Fighting. “It’s been since that long. COVID then came along and shut down everything. It not only ended my UFC career but it also prevented me from traveling to other countries to try to recover. I had to wait patiently and bide my time to see where I was going.”

Dodson stayed busy with fights in XMMA before signing with the BKFC where he made his successful debut in bare-knuckle competition with a first-round knockout over fellow UFC veteran Ryan Benoit this past August.

Now, the UFC champion has the chance to face the top flyweights or bantamweights from Japan. Dodson believes he will be an ideal fit for this promotion.

” “That’s why it’s so exciting for me to travel over there,” Dodson said. It fits the mold because of my style, my personality and energy. That organization is my goal. I will be a champion and show people that I am not only an entertainer, but can also win them over. I’m not getting away from that.

” I will still go out and get as brutal as possible, but with a more killer smile .”

Dodson is hopeful that he will eventually be able to face Kyoji Horiguchi, as the Japanese superstar is competing in RIZIN and his Bellator MMA contract.

” I still think that I’m one of the greatest 125ers in the world,” Dodson stated. “I believe that I am the greatest fighter in the entire world, not only this. It was a chance to beat RIZIN champions and take everyone’s steam. I will keep defending that position until I retire .”

As part of his new deal with RIZIN, Dodson will still be allowed to compete in the BKFC with hopes that he’ll get to return to action there with a card tentatively expected to land in New Mexico in February.

” I would love to have that chance to beat someone up in my town,” Dodson stated about his next BKFC bout. It was so amazing the first time BKFC arrived here. I want to showcase my new abilities with everyone else as well.”