Gordon Ryan: Dillon Danis is a master of managing to remain relevant, without doing anything.


Gordon Ryan does not think much of what Dillon Danis has become.

Ryan has been widely regarded as the most outstanding no-gi wrestler in the world and the best of all time. Though only 27 years old, “King” Ryan has won the Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Championships five times, the IBJJF No-Gi World Championship three times, and a host of other major submission grappling championships.

Not that long ago Ryan was an exciting prospect climbing the ranks of grappling, just like Danis. In recent years, however, while Ryan climbed his way to the pinnacle of the sport, Danis instead pivoted toward a friendship with Conor McGregor, MMA, and now influencer boxing — a shift that made him the butt of a number of jokes and the disappointment of the grappling community.

“The thing about Dillon, Dillon is a master — an absolute master — at managing to stay relevant without actually doing anything combat related,” Ryan said on The MMA Hour. “I don’t know how he does it, but he does it, and props to him because — his family must have money, because he doesn’t do anything to generate revenue. His Instagram shows that he does not have any sponsors. He also doesn’t instruct and doesn’t compete. I don’t know how he’s not homeless. He must have an inheritance or something. He manages to remain relevant.

“A brown belt, he was well-respected. After he won many things as a brown belt, he became a huge prospect for black belt. And then he had the falling out with Marcelo [Garcia], and then once he got in with McGregor, that’s when he started to fall apart. His popularity skyrocketed, but his career kind of fell apart from there.”

Ryan has been a familiar face to Danis. Apart from rising up the ranks at the same time, the two actually met in the opening round of the 2017 ADCC World Championship, where Ryan won a referee’s decision. That match, particularly given what Ryan went on to become, is often cited by Danis supporters as proof of his ability, but Ryan himself believes that isn’t a good way to assess Danis’ skills.

“This was my first match, his second ADCC. Ryan stated that he played very strategic, cautious games and took me to a final decision. He won a decision for me, which I have been trying to get a rematch since. He was a respected brown belt.

“What people don’t know about this is, everyone thinks he’s this badass, now I think they’re kind of starting to realize, but if you actually look at the statistics — and I’ve been dying to say this on a big podcast — Dillon Danis has a record in jiu-jitsu since black belt of 18 wins and 16 losses. People don’t realize that he isn’t as skilled at jiu jitsu. Everybody just refers to the match with him. Yeah, that was five years ago. It wasn’t my best either. But Dillon since black belt is 18-16. It’s not an impressive record, since it was black belt .”

That 2017 ADCC event actually marks the last time Danis grappled professionally. Prior to the tournament, Danis signed a deal with Bellator. He made his MMA debut in 2018, winning by toehold. He fought once more, earning another submission victory in 2019, but has not returned to competition of any kind since. He has been making headlines again for his reckless behavior and a number of other incidents.

Now, Danis is set to move even further away from his grappling roots by boxing YouTuber KSI in January. When that is over, Ryan hopes to be able to lure his old foe back to the mats one more time, simply to prove a point to everyone who still brings up their ADCC match.

“I’ve offered him 10-to-1 odds, because he always makes these obscene bet matches,” Ryan said. “‘Oh, I’ll bet $1 million against that, blah, blah, blah.’ I was like, ‘Dillon, you can pick the number.’ And I did this for Felipe [Pena]. Felipe put up $10,000, I put up $100,000. And I told [Danis], ‘We can do a no time-limit match, you put up whatever number you want and I’ll put up 10 times that amount, we can put it in an escrow account and then we can grapple,’ and he just changes the subject or ignores it or whatever the case it.

“However, with ADCC, [Joe] Rogan and some other wins, my Instagram followers have grown to the point where he can publicly acknowledge me. Before that, he wouldn’t do it because I’d get lots of his followers. But now, I’m approaching 800,000, so I’m not too far off his count. Now I’m getting famous enough where he can actually acknowledge me, so maybe we can do a match eventually.”

Source: https://www.mmafighting.com/2022/12/20/23517582/gordon-ryan-dillon-danis-master-at-managing-to-stay-relevant-without-actually-doing-anything?rand=96749