Dillon Danis talks a big game. To that, there is no doubt. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace exudes confidence and that extends into his impending venture into mixed martial arts.
Danis will make his MMA debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198 on April 28 in Rosemont, Ill. And while Danis believes he’ll dispatch Walker with ease — he’s predicting a first-round stoppage — that does not mean he’s preparing inadequately.
The New York resident is currently in Dublin with SBG Ireland under coach John Kavanagh and he takes umbrage with those who think he’s not taking this foray into the cage seriously.
“It’s that people would think I would do this not prepared,” Danis told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “They think that I would take this as a joke. And I know MMA is a ruthless game and you can get hurt. You could basically change your life with a wrong fight or something. I feel disrespected that people would think that I’m just going into this lightly or I’m just gonna train jiu-jitsu or something like that. I respect this game a lot and I’m preparing for a world title fight, in a sense. Because that’s how every fight should be treated. I just feel a little disrespected that people would think that I took this lightly.”
Danis, 24, said he is enjoying the speculation about how good he is. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and former IBJFF brown belt world champion knows there are a lot of questions about how solid his striking will be and how his BJJ will translate to MMA. Danis, who said he trains Muay Thai with Phil Nurse in New York, welcomes the inquiries.
He doesn’t mind one bit that his cocky attitude has put a spotlight on him, either. The fact that this is unlike any other jiu-jitsu-to-MMA transition is not lost on Danis.
“If there wasn’t a bull’s eye on my back and there wasn’t questions, who would really care about the fight,” Danis said. “There’s a lot of guys in this game that have been in it for years — they’re like journeymen or something — and no one really cares about them. So, at the end of day, questions, bull’s eyes, people talking shit, it’s all good. You could put as much pressure on me as you want. But when you’re this good, you don’t feel pressure.”
Danis said unequivocally that he knows very little about Walker, his opponent next month. Walker is 2-4 as a pro and coming off three straight losses on the regional scene. Danis said he takes off his hat to him, because few fighters wanted to compete against him in his debut.
“They just needed someone to sacrifice their life for me and that’s what’s happened,” Danis said.
Danis predicts he’ll finish Walker in the first round, either by submission or TKO. The thing this, no one really knows for sure what Danis will look like when he steps into the cage in the shadows of Chicago on April 28. That, the brash New Jersey native said, is the beauty of it.
“I’ve been getting punched in the face for a long time, don’t worry,” Danis said. “I like all these questions. I’ve been getting this a lot, like ‘what’s his stand up gonna be like?’ and all this stuff. But the good thing about MMA is everything gets answered. So, I guess we’ll see. You’ll have to tune in and watch.”