Dillon Danis has yet to have his first professional mixed martial arts fight. But the jiu-jitsu standout is doing his best to make sure the Bellator roster knows exactly who he is.
Danis signed a contract with Bellator MMA just two weeks ago, and he’s wasted little time placing the target squarely on his own back.
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, the Marcelo Garcia-trained competitor told his fellow Bellator fighters -- a roster which includes Chael Sonnen, Fedor Emelianenko, Benson Henderson, and Phil Davis, among others -- that he’s the most famous of the lot.
Asked why Bellator would be interested in signing with them, Danis said it’s because he’s better known than the rest.
“I have a bigger following and a bigger name than anyone on the roster,” Danis said. “So at the end of the day I wasn’t surprised. It was the right move for them. You can put any of those bums against me, and they’ll get a rating.”
Danis, whose most notable credential in the MMA world is his work with UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, said he chose to sign with Bellator for a simple reason: The money was right.
“We talked to the UFC, for them it’s just hard to sign anyone who doesn’t have any fights,” Danis said. “We were negotiating but Bellator came with money from the beginning. In the future, we’ll see what happens, but it was right this time with Bellator, the money was right, everything was right and they needed a star, you know?”
Danis confirmed on The MMA Hour that his contract is for four fights. While he wouldn’t give specifics on the dollar amounts, he made a claim that is sure to raise eyebrows in some corners of the Bellator locker room.
“I’m the highest-paid guy in Bellator now, so that’s all I can say,” Danis said.
The 23-year-old Danis will enter mixed martial arts on a timetable which will enable him to continue his pursuit of goals in the grappling world, including June’s world championship in Long Beach, Calif., and September’s ADCC tournament in Finland.
“My deal with them is I’m going to compete, to play for them after ADCC,” Danis said. “Right now, I’m still doing my goals and competing in gi and no-gi. I still have my goals and then after, I want to go to MMA. Then I’ll go into full MMA mode after that.”
Danis says that as of now, while he’s done some boxing and Muay Thai training, and plans on doing some work with noted trainer Phil Nurse, he’s not going to begin his full-time MMA training until after the ADCCs.
But when the time comes, Danis knows his MMA debut will be a matter of huge hype. And that he’ll have a bullseye on his back, one that he largely placed on his own back with his brash words.
And he’s okay with that since he’s been dealing with it in the jiu-jitsu world already.
“It’s just who I am,” Danis said. “I’m not trying to be anyone. I’m okay with it. At the end of the day, I told the truth and that’s it. I’m not trying to be anything, that’s just how I am. I say the truth and people get upset about it. These guys in jiu-jitsu are mad, but at the end of the day, I’m bringing more attention.”