Dillon Danis was channeling Bruce Lee post-fight following his MMA debut win at Bellator 198.
Chicago, IL — While it wasn’t a perfect performance, Dillon Danis got the job done in his MMA debut on Saturday night at Bellator 198. The trash talking BJJ expert, part of SBG alongside Conor McGregor, looked a bit shaky on the feet early, but once he pulled guard and had opponent Kyle Walker on the ground, it was as good as over.
Submitting Walker via toe-hold, Danis pulled off the slick submission expected of him in the cage. Afterward, he reflected on the win, his callout of Ben Askren, and feeling like Bruce Lee in the cage.
“I came in here free, like Bruce Lee said, ‘no way is the way,'” Danis said. “I just came in and said ‘I’m going to be free in there.” Later, addressing the topic of jiu-jitsu’s effectiveness in modern MMA, he stated that “I believe that jiu-jitsu is still like back in the day. It’s the best martial art in the world.”
As for any notion of pressure, Danis claimed there was none. “When you’re this good you don’t feel pressure,” he boasted.
When it came to his in-cage performance, he told reported in attendance that “I’m happy with my performance. A lot of people get warm-up fights. I came out, and took all the media on my back. I did all the media,” he explained. “This fight is the second biggest fight in Bellator history. How many people are making their debut like that? Taking all the media, doing all this stuff, talking a big game? Nobody. Everybody else would have lost.”
Teammate Conor McGregor also passed along his congratulations. “He was very happy with my performance and very happy for me,” Dillon Danis said.
Post-fight, Danis let slip a curious callout: retired former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, who went on to have an undefeated career culminating in a run as the ONE Championship welterweight champ. Askren has been looking to come out of retirement for a fight in the UFC against Georges St. Pierre, and has floated the idea of fighting Rory MacDonald. Other than that, he seems content in retirement.
As to why that particular callout was the one he made, Danis said that “I believe I’m the one to derail his undefeated streak. He would not be able to handle me on the ground, and he has no striking. So it would end up on the ground, and I feel that I would submit him easy.”
Later, he added that “he knows he has no leg lock defense. He knows he’s afraid of the ground game.”
One thing that stood out about Dillon Danis in the stand-up department was his wide stance, something a number of SBG fighters utilize. Danis said, however, that his stance is something he settled into before that. “I just started training, and that was my stance,” he recalled. “It’s weird actually. I watch a lot of Bruce Lee, and karate stances, and it just kind of formed, especially because I have a little bit of wide stance in jiu-jitsu, it just became easy for me. I was light on my feet. Once I got my strikes going, I felt a little bit more comfortable. I got out there, I felt a little slow, but once I started getting in there, I felt like Bruce Lee.”