Exclusive – A.J. Dobson Plans Patient Debut, Finish Over Jacob Malkoun Ahead Of UFC 271

    ByRoss Markey

    Jan 31, 2022

    Undefeated middleweight prospect, A.J. Dobson has found himself on a rather high-profile card of his promotional debut in less than two weeks time – tackling Sydney native, Jacob Malkoun beneath a middleweight title clash between Israel Adesanya, and Malkoun’s teammate, Robert Whittaker at UFC 271.

    And despite the high-profile nature of his first excursion under the Dana White-led banner, the Ohio native, who had earned his Octagon deal courtesy of a submission win over Hashem Arkhagha on the Contender Series in September, Dobson has welcomed the opportunity to share the card with his fellow middleweights – with the view to facing them in the future.

    “It’s amazing to see Izzy (Israel Adesanya), Derek Brunson, you know – see all the top middleweights, so it’s definitely something to aspire to and look up to,” A.J. Dobson told Current MMA reporter, James Lynch, during a recent interview. “And hopefully, I’ll be able to get in the cage with them soon.

    Boasting a 6-0-1 (no contest) professional record ahead of his Octagon bow, Dobson, a training partner of UFC welterweight mainstay, Matt Brown and student over the iconic, Mark Coleman, has managed to land finishes via both submission and knockout in less than a minute in two of his six victories.

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    Speaking of the pressure that comes with guaranteeing a signature to the promotion off the back of the Contender Series, Dobson has admitted that he is welcoming the opportunity to get settled into the Octagon properly, without a preferred finish dangling above him.

    “I’ll tell you what, that was probably the most nerve-racking thing ever,” A.J. Dobson said of competing on the Contender Series. “‘Cause, it’s not like a regular UFC fight where you go out there and you just have to get a win. This one, you know – Contender Series, you had to be exciting, you have to get a finish, you have to impress Dana (White). So I think it was a lot more pressure on me in the last fight.”

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    “This fight (against Jacob Malkoun), of course, it’s a lot of pressure, but it’s not like, I have to be super impressive just to get a contract or anything like that,” A.J. Dobson explained. “I’m definitely gonna try and be impressive and push the pace, and get some highlights, but it definitely takes some of edge off, that the Contender Series gave me.” 

    With that being said, however, Dobson claimed that he plans on remaining patient against Malkoun – who has twice featured under the UFC’s banner, establishing a 1-1 record, but if the opportunity arose to end his night early, he is confident of snatching the chance no matter how it appears.

    “Honestly, I think there is so many ways I can finish this fight,” A.J. Dobson said. “There’s so many ways this fight can go. The main thing I’m gonna do is stick to the basics. I know my last fight, I had to be exciting and I had to, you know, kind of impress everybody, and show that I’m willing to fight, and kinda, bite down on my mouthpiece and swing.”

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    “I think in this one, I’ll probably take my time a little bit more, stay behind the jab, and kinda see what he (Malkoun) gives me,” A.J. Dobson said. “Because he’s a little bit shorter, he’s 5’9, so he’s gonna have to either, shoot in blindly, or close the distance somehow – so I’ll pick something up from there.”