Dillon Danis to return to grappling in 2023

Dillon Danis is planning to resume his grappling career this year.

By: Kevin Bradley | 2 months ago
Dillon Danis to return to grappling in 2023
Credit: IMAGO / MediaPunch

Controversial MMA fighter Dillon Danis has spent over six years away from the sport of grappling. Now, off the heels of his cancelled boxing match with YouTuber KSI, the Marcelo Garcia black belt is looking to rejoin competition in 2023 under the Polaris banner.

The UK based promotion announced Danis’ interest in an Instagram post late last week.

@dillondanis is aiming to make his highly anticipated return to grappling in 2023 with Polaris,” the post read. “Who would you like to see Dillon face?”

BJJ Elite

A former IBJJF Pans Champion, Danis’s public meltdowns have left his grappling achievements covered in cobwebs. From the now-defunct Metamoris promotion to the lauded ADCC stage, Danis has showcased elite skills in grappling’s biggest tournaments since his early 20’s.

Despite his 18-16 record, his decision losses count greats like Leandro Lo, Garry Tonon and Gordon Ryan in their number. He’s also taken victories from ADCC Trials winner Tex Johnson, IBJJF Pans No Gi champ Josh Hinger and Unity BJJ head coach Murilo Santana. Polaris as a vehicle for his grappling return also fits, as he last fought for the promotion in 2017 in a losing bid against Tonon.

MMA/Boxing Turn

Danis made his MMA debut with Bellator in 2018, quickly finishing opponent Kyle Walker via toe hold. He’d rack up a second submission win in 2019 before taking a career hiatus, and neither of his two opponents have competed since. Bellator President Scott Coker has expressed disappointment in Danis’s career thus far, stating they were hoping to develop the talented athlete into a franchise star.

Danis spent the interim years starting public feuds with the emerging influencer boxing crowd. He teased boxing bouts with YouTube stars Jake and Logan Paul that never materialized, and frequently poke active MMA like fighters like Jon Jones and Paddy Pimblett on social media. His late withdrawal from the KSI fight last year only lead more and more people to write him off as a professional fighter.

Public Fall

Dillon Danis hasn’t had much luck outside of the sports world. He was famously choked unconscious by a New Jersey bouncer in 2021, and was caught promoting fake cryptocurrency on his social media pages this past February by YouTuber Coffeezilla.

Return and community reaction

A successful reentry to BJJ could revitalize Danis’s career, but professional’s reactions to the post are sceptical and comical.

“I’ll do it for $20 and a steak dinner,” wrote B-Team member and 2022 ADCC Trials winner Jay Rodriguez. Former opponent AJ Agazarm threw his hat in the ring, hoping to avenge his loss to Danis at Submission Underground 3. B-Team coach Craig Jones responded to a comment calling a potential Danis bout a mismatch with, “Red panty night.”

Danis himself has yet to comment on the Polaris post or give any grappling updates. But he has publicly challenged Nate Diaz to an MMA or BJJ match, offering to retire if he fails to win in under a minute.

Bloody elbow has reached out to Dillon Danis for comment, and will update this article if needed.

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About the author
Kevin Bradley
Kevin Bradley

Kevin Bradley is a writer covering Bloody Elbow’s grappling beat. A longtime BJJ hobbyist, he began covering combat sports in 2018 for the Jiu-Jitsu Times with athlete interviews and fight breakdowns. He branched into audio the following year, producing and co-hosting the JJT Podcast for its 100 episode run. After a writing hiatus, occasionally contributing to various sites in the interim, he joined BE in late 2022.

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