Nathaniel “The Prospect” Wood will take on UFC veteran John “The Magician” Dodson in a Bantamweight contest on February 15th in Rio Rancho at the Santa Ana Star Center, United States.
Former Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood looks to continue his magnificent run of form as he prepares to take on a 31-fight veteran in John Dodson.
Nathaniel Wood (16-3) comes into the matchup full of confidence and rightly so. Wood has been faultless since joining the UFC, going (3-0) inside the promotion and riding an 8-fight winning streak. Wins coming from major promotions such as Bamma, Bellator, and Cage Warriors. We last saw Wood compete in March of 2019, securing a second-round rear-naked choke win v Jose Alberto Quiñones. Since then, Wood has suffered a minor setback due to injury but is ready to go on February 15th. The 8-fight winning streak has been impressive in itself, I may add all 8 wins have come via stoppage. The UK have high hopes for their “Prospect”, you know what to expect in Rio Rancho.
John Dodson (20-11) by all means is no slouch, however, he’s failed to pick up any momentum in recent years, suffering tough losses to names like Petr Yan, Jimmy Riveria, Marlon Moraes and flyweight king Demetrious Johnson. Dodson has had some time to recharge since his last bout in February of 2019 and will be eager to get back in the win column in the latter stages of his career.
The octagon experience heavily favours Dodson in this bout. A win for the “Magician” could see him have one last go at catching the Bantamweight strap. A loss could see the 35-year-old call it a day and hang up the gloves on a great career.
The youth of Nathaniel Wood may play a factor in this matchup. Being a hungry and motivated 26-year-old who’s yet to hit his prime has a lot to prove, whereas Dodson, not so much. Both athletes are at different stages of their careers with different goals. It’s hard to look past Wood here in this matchup.
How did you find transitioning from purely fighting in the UK/Europe scene to then starting to dip into the worldwide scene fighting under the UFC?
Wood – “I didn’t feel I had many issues with it. Cage Warriors is one of the top promotions so I felt I was getting the toughest fights outside of the UFC. Once signing with the UFC, I felt more than ready to compete on the highest platform.”
With the UFC bantamweight title picture as messed up as it is currently, how do you see the division looking in the next year with contenders being skipped over?
Wood – ” I feel like Henry Cejudo is avoiding matchups at the moment. So I feel that he will remain champ for some time whilst the rest of the division compete for that number 1 slot.”
How do you think the relationship you have with your coach affects your commitment to training? A lot of fighters that have a strong bond and relationship with their coach go on to have a fairly successful career, do you think that’s a factor?
Wood – “Having the right relationship with your coaches I think is everything. I am blessed to have my father as my head coach so can always trust him 100% of the time. I have also got some great coaches/mentors around me who I would call family. Brad Pickett and Ash Grimshaw have also done so much for me these past few years.”
A win over Dodson puts you in a really good position. What’s next for you if successful? Are you looking at competing once or twice more in the year?
Wood – “A win over Dodson will be huge for my career. I then aim to get on that London card providing no injuries from the fight with John. After that, I want to work up those rankings and get into title contention.”
How do you view John Dodson as an opponent?
Wood – “Dodson is a legend of the sport, having beaten TJ Dillashaw many years ago to competing against Demetrious Johnson twice for the flyweight belt. It’s an honour to share the octagon with him come February 15th.”
I would like to thank Nathaniel for giving us the time before his fight to have a chat. We wish him all the best come February 15th.
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