Conor McGregor’s training partner Dillon Danis will be making his professional MMA debut under the Bellator banner.
After months of making some noise for himself, Dillon Danis will finally make his transition into MMA. The 23-year-old Marcelo Garcia black belt signed a deal with Bellator on Monday.
Danis did drop a hint about a “big fight announcement” via Twitter on Sunday. Now that he has inked his Bellator deal, the decorated grappler says he aims to follow the footsteps of his training partner, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
“I want to fight the best, just like Conor does. We’re different people, though we’re very like-minded,” Danis told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, who first reported the news. “We set high goals and we aren’t afraid to try to achieve. I feel he’s the best ever, in my opinion, and so if people want to compare us, well, how could it be bad if you’re a basketball player to be compared to Michael Jordan? That’s essentially what people would be saying if they compare us.”
“I obviously respect what he has accomplished and will accomplish in the future. He’s incredible and the aura of confidence he has is amazing. He’s a champion for a reason. But I want to go down my own path and do it my way.”
For Bellator CEO Scott Coker, signing Danis was his way of using his old Strikeforce philosophy: “Buying the best free agents and building from the top down and signing these young guys who excel in one discipline of the martial arts, whether it is wrestling or jiu-jitsu, taekwondo or traditional karate, and then building from the bottom up.”
“A guy like Dillon, with such high-level jiu-jitsu, whenever a fight goes to the ground, he’s going to be a serious threat,” Coker said. “He’s going to have to master the stand-up game and everything else, but what I’ve found over the years is that when you take a guy like this, who has competed all over the world in big events, they’re calm and relaxed and they’ll develop if you push them along and nurture them the right way.”
Danis was able to draw attention for himself from MMA fans by making controversial statements such as calling out the entire UFC roster. Recently, he claimed that UFC 209 would have been sold out if he was part of the card.