John Dodson vs. Nathaniel Wood Announced for UFC Rio Rancho

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Credit: Dave Mandel/

John Dodson will return for a fight in his own back yard when he faces Nathaniel Wood at UFC Rio Rancho.

Flyweight contender turned bantamweight John Dodson will return to the octagon early next year. On Thursday, the UFC announced via social media that Dodson (20-11) has been booked opposite rising prospect Nathaniel Wood (16-3). Sherdog had previously reported the pairing. The bout will go down at UFC Rio Rancho, not far from where Dodson, a Jackson-Wink MMA fighter, trains.

It will have been nearly a year between fights when ‘The Magician’ gets back in the cage in New Mexico. Dodson was last seen at UFC Prague in February 2019, where he lost a decision to top contender Petr Yan. That was the second straight loss for Dodson, who had previously dropped a bout to Jimmie Rivera. Both losses came via unanimous decision, and marked the first losing streak of 35-year old Dodson’s career.

In earlier times, Dodson, winner of The Ultimate Fighter 14 at bantamweight, stalked the 125lb weight class, twice challenging then-champ Demetrious Johnson for the title. Dodson’s first title shot came at UFC on FOX 6 in 2013, a second at UFC 191 in September 2015 followed. Going the distance both times but coming up short, the Albuquerque, NM native made the move to bantamweight.

Nathaniel Wood, almost a decade younger than his opponent at 26, enters UFC Rio Rancho on an eight-fight win streak. He’s won his first three octagon appearances, picking up victories over Johnny Eduardo, Andre Ewell, and José Alberto Quiñónez.

UFC Rio Rancho (UFC Fight Night 167), headlined by Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz, goes down February 15, 2020 at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The event is set to air on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).

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