Demetrious Johnson will only have had about two weeks of enjoying his newly won UFC flyweight championship belt when he’ll be forced to begin thinking about defending it. On Friday, if Johnson watches UFC on FX 5, he’ll be doing so as more than an interested spectator, because on that night, he’ll be learning the identity of his first challenger.
According to oddsmakers, Dodson is about a 2-to-1 favorite to escape with the win. If he does emerge victorious, it would set up a bout between two blindingly fast athletes, something Dodson alluded to when discussing the possible title match.
“I want the fight against DJ,” he said in a statement distributed by the UFC. “We are the two fastest fighters in the UFC and I want to match my speed against his. Some people say he’s the fastest, some people say I am. We got to fight to see who is the fastest. I really want to match what I got against what he’s got.”
Dodson spent the early part of his career competing out of his weight class in order to get fights, but has won four flyweight bouts in a row, with back-to-back wins in the UFC over T.J. Dillashaw and Tim Elliot, respectively.
Clearly a Johnson-Dodson matchup would be the most marketable flyweight matchup the UFC could hope for, but hoping to spoil the party is Formiga, a Brazilian who has only lost once in 15 career fights (to current UFC flyweight Ian McCall) and was previously the Shooto South Americas champion.
Formiga — Portuguese for “ant,” by the way — enters the bout riding a five-fight win streak, with four of the victories coming via submission. A black belt in both judo and jiu-jitsu, Formiga (formerly known by his given last name of da Silva) is considered by most a top five flyweight, but will have to overcome both Dodson and the octagon jitters in a high-stakes UFC debut.