Dillon Danis has his sights set on a big 2023 now that he’s fully recovered from a bad injury.
Once thought of as an elite jiu-jitsu prospect, Danis first made headlines in MMA as a training partner for Conor McGregor, before himself transitioning to MMA in 2019 and signing with Bellator. But after his initial two fights, Danis hasn’t been heard from in the cage for over three years, and as he prepares for his upcoming return to competition, “El Jefe” explained that a serious injury kept him sidelined for most of that stretch of time.
“I had a bad knee injury,” Danis said recently on The MMA Hour.
“I had the knee surgery at HSS [Hospital for Special Surgery], which is supposed to be the best. It ended up failing. My graft failed, completely failed. So I had to get another surgery, which is another year. So basically two surgeries within a year, they said it’s like being in two car accidents. So my knee was like completely f******. So I had the surgery that failed, they had to use a different graft, they did a whole thing, within a year. So my knee was f*****. It’s not like I don’t want to fight. That’s the stupidest thing ever. Why wouldn’t I want to fight?
“I’m still the same person. I’m still going to choke everybody out. It’s easy.”
The knee injury is not the only reason Danis has been out for so long, though.
According to the jiu-jitsu ace, after finally successfully rehabbing his knee, Danis was ready to box Logan Paul — until Paul’s stint with the WWE got in the way.
“I wanted to [return sooner],” Danis said. “I was getting ready for my comeback and then they were like, ‘OK, you want to do Logan, then guaranteed Jake for a crazy amount of money?’ I said f*** yeah, why not? Then they wanted me to wait for [Logan]. He’s a scumbag, to be honest. He didn’t update me on the fight and tell me he was doing the wrestling and stuff, and I wasted so much time because I was like, ‘I’m going to fight Logan.’ He just kind of had me waiting and I could have come back already. That was the only thing that pissed me off about him.”
A lightning rod for controversy, Danis instead turned to KSI after his plans to box Paul fell through, getting into an altercation with the YouTuber earlier this year which set up their scheduled boxing match on Jan. 14. The bout will be Danis’ first foray into boxing, and based on some recent sparring footage, some fans are questioning how he’ll fare inside the squared circle. But Danis suggests that all might not be as it seems heading into this fight.
“What they don’t realize, KSI runs that Misfits thing,” Danis said. “So they want me to spar and I’m like, no, f*** you guys. They would just give it straight to him. They want to record a bunch of sparring and s*** and I’m not stupid. They have no footage on me now.
“I’m going to hurt KSI really bad. No one realizes it.”
If Danis can back up his hefty talk, a big 2023 awaits him. Danis said he believes matchups with Logan and Jake Paul are still on the table if he can get past KSI, and he also mentioned some interest in a boxing match with Nate Diaz. And none of that includes his looming return to the Bellator cage.
“I’ll try to do four, maybe more [fights in 2023],” Danis said. “When I come back to MMA, I’m going to run through them fast, two fast submissions. I have two more fights left with Bellator, so you never know what will happen.”