Dillon Danis in mixed martial arts seems to be an inevitability.
Danis, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace who has made a name in MMA due to his work with Conor McGregor, told Ariel Helwani on a recent episode of The MMA Hour that he has been offered an MMA fight early next year by Cage Fury Fighting Championship, but he’s still contemplating it because it conflicts with a major BJJ tournament.
For his part, Danis said he believes he could make the jump to the UFC — right now. If he had an ideal first opponent, Danis said, it would be Sage Northcutt, the high-profile prospect.
“That would be an easy fight,” Danis said. “Just to get in there. That would be a good, easy one to just get out of the way. Beat someone that has a decent name.”
Northcutt recently lost to Mickey Gall at UFC on FOX 22 on Dec. 17 in Sacramento. Danis said he doesn’t really want to fight Gall, a fellow New Jersey native, someone he calls a “close friend” and a former training partner.
“I honestly think I can go my first fight in the UFC, and I think I would dominate,” Danis said. “I say that 100 percent being fact. I’m not a stupid person and I know what I’m capable of. I know who I’ve trained with, and I know what I’ve seen.”
Danis, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under top trainer Marcelo Garcia, is a former world champion in both gi and no-gi at brown belt. The 23-year-old is one of the biggest names in BJJ right now. But MMA is something he said he has wanted to do since he was a teenager training in Jersey with Jim and Dan Miller.
Spending UFC 205 week with McGregor in New York only underscored that desire, Danis said.
“It was like, I have to do this,” he said. “This is what I want to do.”
Danis was in the MMA news a lot leading up to and following McGregor’s second fight with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in August. After the bout, Diaz actually called Danis out, because he was an American helping an Irishman at an Ireland-based gym. Danis said he’s still willing to face Diaz inside the Octagon. It doesn’t matter to him that Diaz is a 12-year MMA veteran and Danis is 0-0.
“That means nothing,” Danis said. “It doesn’t mean anything. I’ve always respected Nate. I think Nate is an awesome fighter. But when he called me out, that’s when we have a problem.”
But Northcutt seems to be a more realistic matchup if Danis does get the UFC call. Danis said he could fight in MMA at 170 or 155 and maybe even 185.
Like his mentor McGregor, he certainly is not lacking for confidence.
“I can dominate any weight class,” Danis said.