No love lost.
That's the best way to describe the ongoing rivalry between Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, and No. 1-ranked division contender, John Dodson.
Saturday night Johnson will attempt to notch his seventh consecutive 125-pound title defense in the main event of UFC 191, which takes place inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Mighty Mouse" is on record as saying that his ultimate goal is to have the most successful title defenses in UFC history, a record (10) that is currently held by former Middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
But it won't be easy.
Dodson presents the biggest challenge in the weight class today. "The Magician" packs perhaps the biggest punch in the division ... and Johnson is well aware of this reality. That's because Dodson hurt -- and even dropped -- Johnson in the opening rounds of their first encounter at UFC on FOX 6 back in Jan. 2013. Johnson was able to weather the early storm, though, and dominate the final rounds to become the promotion's first-ever Flyweight champion.
And he has not looked back.
Johnson reeled off five straight impressive victories, finishing four of his opponents during that run, including a highlight-reel knockout of perennial top-ranked contender, Joseph Benavidez. Dodson, meanwhile, was sidelined for one year because of knee surgery and looked a bit shaky in his most recent bout against former Bellator MMA champion, Zach Makovsky, several months ago.
Nonetheless, he has strung together back-to-back-to-back victories. Factor in history, as well as a long-standing trash-talking battle, and combat sports fans have all the ingredients for a tasty pay-per-view (PPV) main event rematch. It's speed and power (Dodson) versus even more speed and elite technical ability (Johnson) in a can't-miss five-round grudge match.
It's going to be fast, it's going to be fun.
Before all that happens, though, UFC 191 will also feature a Heavyweight co-main event more than one decade in the making between former champions Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir. Both men rose to prominence back in the 2004-2005 campaign, however, Mir -- champion at the time -- was involved in a horrendous motorcycle wreck that nearly ended his life and derailed his budding mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
Arlovski came onto the scene and competed for the interim title against Tim Sylvia while Mir recovered from his injuries, scoring a 47-second submission over "The Maine-iac" to claim the strap. "Pitiful" would eventually lose the belt to Sylvia in a rematch and then parted ways with the promotion just as Mir was beginning to find his groove again with an enormous win over Brock Lesnar in 2008.
Their circuitous career paths finally intersect this evening in "Sin City" in a meaningful match that very well could determine the next title contender behind former division champion, Cain Velasquez.
The PPV-televised portion of UFC 191: "Johnson vs. Dodson 2" will begin at 10 p.m. later this evening. In addition to the aforementioned main- and co-main events, the PPV will feature a pivotal Light Heavyweight showdown between smashing machines Anthony Johnson and Jimi Manuwa, as well as the return of Paige VanZant, a marketable Strawweight with skill to match against Alex Chambers.
Prior to the PPV, UFC 191 will deliver six undercard "Prelims" matches. The first two bouts will stream online via UFC's online digital network, "Fight Pass," at 7 p.m. ET before transitioning to television on FOX Sports 1, which will broadcast the remaining four fights starting at 8 p.m. ET.
If you are just a casual UFC/MMA fan who catches a handful of events here and there, UFC 191 should have something for everyone -- a bitter championship rivalry, a clash of legends, a battle of beasts and a brawl between beauties.
All that and much, much more.
In the meantime, to get up to speed on all things UFC 191, including previews, predictions, interviews, breakdowns, analysis and so much more. Be sure to check out the most comprehensive collection of stories available anywhere for "Johnson vs. Dodson 2" right here.