Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson is hunting for multiple titles in multiple weight classes, but he's going to start by targeting the best of the best at 125 pounds.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, Dodson's fight against Da Silva had been deemed a No. 1 contender's fight with the winner getting a crack at new UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
The news only served as more motivation to put a hurting on Da Silva on Oct. 5.
“I've got to step up my game and make sure I put him to sleep, and I just need to justify my case for being the No. 1 contender then,” Dodson said after hearing the news.
There's always a certain level of distraction heading into any fight, but in Dodson's case everything just multiplied because of the title shot looming overhead. The longtime student of coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn isn't letting it distract him at all, however, because he doesn't get the gold if he's served with silver this weekend.
In Dodson's mind, he's still got a lot to prove before he can battle for the UFC flyweight title.
“I'm still thinking one fight at a time. I don't really even care that I'm going to be the No. 1 contender. All I want to know is how I'm preparing myself for Jussier Da Silva. I know he's a dangerous fighter, he was once considered the best flyweight in the world, and I want to make sure I can compete with the best flyweights in the world,” Dodson stated.
“People have sat there and questioned me being in the top ten, questioned my abilities, question everything I've done, and question my jiu-jitsu. So, I want to make sure I can prove all those doubters and haters that sit there and have no faith in me, I want to make them believers.”
The easiest way for Dodson to turn people around is to have impressive performances, and there's no bigger opportunity than the one standing right in front of him on Friday.
Before the flyweights ever stepped foot in the UFC, Brazilian Jussier Da Silva was looked at as the best 125-pound fighter in the world, and even after his loss to Ian McCall in 2011, he bounced back and reeled off five more wins in a row to land his spot in the UFC.
Now Da Silva will be tested by one of the UFC's best, and Dodson has no plans of going back home to New Mexico a loser.
In fact, Dodson plans on beating Da Silva and then moving onto Demetrious Johnson before setting up his long term goals of conquering multiple weight classes.
“It makes it so much easier cause now I can start hunting for my gold. I want to be a champion in three weight classes, so I wanted to start with flyweight. Now I've got an opponent, I've got the opponent I want to fight,” said Dodson.
“I'll work my way up to get there to get that title shot, get it, and then start moving up in the other weight classes as well.”