Scrum half Cillian Willis is back in the matchday 22 after injury. He will start his first game back on the replacements bench, with Isaac Boss donning the number 9 jersey.
Tom Court, Simon Danielli and Carlo Del Fava have all been temporary released from their respective national camps, in this RBS 6 Nations down week.
Chris Henry has retained his place in the Ulster line-up after impressive performances in the latter stages of the Heineken Cup pool stages.
Commenting on what will be his third start for Ulster at senior level, Henry said: "I knew the competition in Ulster was always going to be tough and at the moment my focus is week to week. But my main goal was to get time on the pitch this season.
"In the last few weeks in the Ireland Sevens camp I've worked on fitness and speed. I'd like to be seen as a realistic option and versatile in the back row. That's what I'd like to push."
He added: "I just can't wait to get onto the pitch, this week has been really good with everybody just getting back into it.
"It's a big week for us because we are pretty much level on points with them.
"It's a massive game for us in regards to the table and we need to go there and get the win.
"Every player has a responsibility, when they are with Ireland they're on Irish duty and when they are with Ulster they're on Ulster duty. We're going to the Dragons to win and everybody has to perform."
Ulster currently sit one point ahead of the Dragons, heading into Sunday's match.
With both sides having won four and lost six of their Magners League games this season, this is a must-win game for Matt Williams' charges.
ULSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Clinton Schifcofske; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Paul Steinmetz, Simon Danielli; Ian Humphreys, Isaac Boss; Tom Court, Nigel Brady, BJ Botha, Ed O'Donoghue, Ryan Caldwell, David Pollock, Kieron Dawson (capt), Chris Henry.
Replacements: Stuart Phillpott, Bryan Young, Carlo Del Fava, Matt McCullough, Cillian Willis, Ian Whitten, Niall O'Connor.