It’s all Dawson needed to embrace the night in Wichita for what it was – a victorious start to his UFC career.
“The reason why I do this is that in this sport, when you win, there’s no greater feeling than winning an MMA fight, especially at the highest level,” said Dawson. “And I saw myself not letting me enjoy that. So thanks to James, I got my head out of my butt and when we went to do the interviews I felt a lot better.”
As well he should. But that doesn’t mean Dawson should be criticized for his post-fight feelings. In fact, he should be praised for always wanting to deliver fights that thrill the fans, as well as the man with the gloves on. That attitude took root long before he made the walk to the Octagon for the first time.
“I got invited to watch a fight over a friend’s house and we watched Rampage Jackson versus Rashad Evans,” said Dawson. “And ever since that, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is great.’ I had wrestled and seen martial arts on the internet, but I had never seen a sport for it.”
Now he had, and the 16-year-old Dawson was hooked. So were his friends, leading to weekly scraps in the backyard.
“We started with backyard fights with my friends, and every time I would win, I’d be like, ‘This feels great. I’m better than you,’” he laughs. “‘You might be a better football player, you might be better at math, but I can kick your butt.’ I remember thinking, I want to get into this for real; I want to try this for real. Really train, have an amateur fight and thinking how good that felt winning my first amateur fight, can you imagine what it would be like winning a world title in the best organization with the best competition? If you do that, there’s not a man alive at 145 pounds that can tell me I can’t beat them up. You’re the best fist fighter there is. You’ve got these guys with world records in powerlifting or world records in other sports, and that’s cool, but I could kill you with my bare hands and you can’t argue that. If you don’t got a gun or a knife, it’s not gonna look good for you because this guy is the best fighter in the world.”