Exclusive Interview With John “The Magician” Dodson


Cage Today recently spoke with John Dodson, long time fighter and trainer from Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque, NM. He was featured on the current season of the Tapout reality show.

This high flying “Magician” talks about his future endeavors as he works his way up in the sport of mixed martial arts. First of all, how did you get started in MMA?

John Dodson: They found me in a Chucky Cheese on Wyoming and Montgomery (in Albuquerque, NM). Basically, I found out about the gym when I was doing a birthday party. Because Chris Latrell was there, and Aaron Barringer they kind of asked me what I was doing after high school and why I didn’t go into wrestling.

So you have a background in wrestling, do you have a background in Martial Arts?

JD: Not really, I did karate when I was little, but I only did it for…probably a month. After that I kind of just fizzled out.

So you’ve been with Greg Jackson for years now…

JD: Probably about 6 years.

Can you tell me what it was like training with him before all the main stream success of the gym?

JD: Umm, it’s like pretty much the same as it is now. Greg’s not so much into like having a high life about anything. A lot of people (then), it was just a lot more heavyweights. There was hardly anybody around my weight so I was always training with guys like Keith (Jardine), Joey (Villasenor) and Diego (Sanchez).

On the show, we saw that Jackson’s Gym is a really big facility, a big warehouse, before it was a smaller place in a strip mall, what was it like working out there?

JD: Working out in the little studio was cool, because it kind of made it like one of those hole in the wall restaurants that no one knew about but if you knew about it, you knew it was like the best place to go to. So all the training was really, really tight and you had the best people in certain areas like Jiujitsu, striking, and a lot of good wrestlers there as well.

Speaking of the show, how long before the taping did you find out you were going to be on?

JD: I only knew about it probably a month in advance because they kind of just sprung it up on me, they were like “John you’re gonna be famous” and I was like how, yeah I’m thinking WEC that was my first question, and they’re like “no, the Tapout guys are coming out here” and I’m like oh, okay, that’s cool.

What was the experience like, hanging out with the Tapout guys?

JD: Man, they’re nuts. They were like…kind of like how I am, kind of cooky and just do whatever. Mask and Skrape just kept on throwing out jokes and we just kept on playing around. All of us are just like giant big kids. Punk Ass is more like on the business side, he wants to make sure his assets are safe and stuff.

Did the show or the camera’s distract you at all from the fight?

JD: No, they didn’t bother me too much. It was a little weird because I was a little awkward about everything. They just had a camera in my face like any time I was talking to anybody. You would be doing something and then all of a sudden cameras would bombard you everywhere.

Your opponent on the show, he was the hometown guy. Does that affect you at all when the crowd is going for the other guy like that?

JD: No, because then it makes me feel like I’m more of the villain. So it kind of builds up the characters. If I’m going to somebody’s home, they always want to watch you lose, and if you disappoint them, they realize it’s not like the comic books — the hero’s not always gonna win all the time.

That’s a good way to look at it. So you finished Vern Baca with a big slam. Do you go for big slams in all of your fights?

JD: I try to. I try to do something spectacular, like … I didn’t do any high flying moves, no super man punches, my flying knees I like to do. So I had to do something. Plus Greg was just sitting there telling me to just throw him so…in my mind I was like “hey, I don’t know how much strength I have to pick up this dude, but hey, I’ll just try — whatever.”

So what is your thing? Do you do flips when you get into the cage or when you win?

JD: Yeah I always like doing a back flip as soon as I win so people can be like “oh that’s why they call him the magician,” or something. I wish I could like make something out of nothing, you know.

At Jackson’s who are some of your training partners who help you get ready for a fight?

JD:I have Tommy Truex, we call him Tommy the Gun, Henry Martinez, Damacio Page, Donald Soloni, Leonard Garcia, – mostly everybody around my weight. Tom Watson always helps me out with my Muy Tai.

They showed the “hill of tears” on the show, how often do you have to run that while your training?

JD: Oohh, not too often, basically once or twice out of the week. All of mostly our other conditioning is us going up to, well, mine is I go running every morning. I hit Defined Fitness (Albuquerque gym) early in the morning. I hit swimming, treadmill, bike, airdyne, you know the good old fashioned hard core conditioning where you don’t have anybody really around you.

Greg Jackson mentioned that you fight at higher weight classes. What’s the highest weight class you have ever had to fight at?

JD: 145…It’s hard for me to actually find an opponent at 125, but it’s okay. I want to fight at 135, but we kind of butt heads at that.

You mentioned that you train with Damacio Page, do you think that you’ll be able to follow his route and eventually be able to fight in the WEC?

JD: Yeah, were talking about doing that, we’re talking about me going to the WEC sometime soon, in the near future, but we’re hoping that they’ll drop down to the 125 weight class, cause they’re talking about me fighting at 135 but they want me to select an opponent until they do, do 125. I’m kind of just saying whatever, let me just fight whoever.

WEC is transitioning to the lighter weight classes, so do you think they will have a Flyweight division (125)?

JD: Yeah, I hope they do, because they’re getting rid of their middle weights the heavy weights and so they have to replace those weight classes with three other weight classes.

Do you have anything scheduled? Any upcoming fights?

JD: I’m fighting October —- in Fairfax, Virginia on this show called Ultimate Warriors Challenge. I’m supposed to be one of the main fights on it. I’m fighting Mike Ethls…they call him The Hulk.

If you look at this guy, you would think its me. He like a heaver version of myself. Its going to be just strait high octane and one hell of a show

Is that going to be at 135?

JD: Its actually going to be at 132. That was the catch weight we decided at. We went by Japanese rules instead of American

Thank You for the interview John, are their any sponsors you want to mention.

JD: No problem, I like to thank Tapout, Buffalo Wild Wings, Max Muscle and One Nation.

Check out John Dodson’s Promo video on MySpace Here..