Garry Tonon and Dillon Danis were infamous rivals in the grappling world. With both men recently transitioning to MMA careers, it was only a matter of time before people started talking about them meeting under the new rule set.
Both have launched their MMA careers successfully — Danis is 1-0 and Tonon boasts a record of 2-0.
This week, Danis broached the topic of facing Tonon in MMA during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, claiming he would “love” to face Tonon at some stage in the future.
Tonon explained how he had called for a showdown with Danis in MMA, among other big names from jiu-jitsu, ahead of his full debut.
“I had put the idea of fighting Dillon in MMA out there a few times, I think. I think I put it out there a few times that I would’ve fought Kron Gracie too. There were a few guys from the jiu-jitsu world I was thinking about fighting; A.J. Agazarm was another one of them,” Tonon told MMA Fighting.
“For me, even though it would been my first fight, I would’ve felt comfortable because they’re in the same boat as me. I know A.J. had a few amateur fights, but it was nothing that I looked at and was thinking, ‘Wow, he’s such an accomplished striker’. I figured those would be really cool promotionally because people would be interested in them because of the rivalries as well as it being a suitable first fight due to the lack of experience.”
Although “The Lion Killer” is open to fighting Danis, he doesn’t think too much emphasis should be put on their potential matchup, given that they are both signed to different promotions.
“Of course, I’m open to it, but the fact that we’re signed to different promotions makes it impossible at this stage. I try to avoid talking about it too much because at this point, it’s all talk. I can say whatever I want and he can say whatever he wants, but at the end of the day, in order for us to fight it would take one of us leaving a contract for it to happen,” he said.
“It’s probably going to take years, or at least a year, before that could actually happen, even if that was something we both wanted to do. That’s just how these fight contracts work — it’s pretty difficult to just opt out one-way or another. If it happens it will be later in our careers.”
Tonon believes his MMA career will continue to flourish with ONE Championship and for that reason, he thinks the only way the fight happens any time soon is if Danis leaves his Bellator contract.
“I think if that fight happens it’s going to be in the future when we both have a lot more MMA experience. At the end of the day, that’s going to make it a more exciting fight anyway,” Tonon said.
“Who knows, maybe he only has a short term contract with Bellator or something and he decides he wants to come over to ONE. I think I’m going to be with ONE for a longer period of time, I’m not leaving any time soon, so it’s not going to happen from my end.”
Even if Danis did manage to get out of his contract and sign for ONE, he sees his grappling rival having trouble making the welterweight limit due to the promotion’s strict control when it comes to weight management.
“If it happens, then awesome, maybe we end of fighting earlier in our MMA careers. I’m good with it either way. We’re definitely in different weight classes though, so it would have to be at a catchweight or something. I really doubt that he could make 170 lbs for ONE Championship because you have to be that weight and be hydrated.”