John Dodson wants to be known as more than just a great fighter. He’d like to add the title, "American Ninja" to his resumé, too.
Dodson, the UFC’s second-ranked flyweight, will travel to Denver next month to try out out for the NBC reality show, American Ninja Warrior. The television series challenges contestants to run, jump, flip, and fly through a grueling urban obstacle course that, naturally, any ninja could complete.
The 28-year-old says the UFC contacted him and wanted him to appear on the show as the sport’s ambassador. “They have more faith in me than I do,” says Dodson.
Dodson's unusual athletic abilities show through in his backflips in the cage and basketball dunks that defy his 5’3” frame -- the stuff that makes him the sport’s most ninja-like candidate.
Dodson most recently fought last January for the flyweight title, suffering a unanimous decision loss to Demetrious Johnson. With Johnson recovering from an injured shoulder and no fights on Dodson’s immediate horizon, he jumped at the chance to try out for the show.
He’s been known to frequent gymnastics gyms to practice his flips and says he’s hit park playgrounds to practice jumping off jungle gyms in preparation for the show.
“I just want to stay busy, have fun with my life,” says Dodson. “I don’t want people think fighting is just what I have to do. I only train about four or five hours a day. So the rest of them I have to be a normal person.”
Or an exceptional ninja.
-- Melissa Segura