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Pan No-Gi brown belt absolute champion Dillon Danis talks training with Joao Miyao

Dillon on the back of an opponent. Photo: John "Ric" Ricard
Dillon on the back of an opponent. Photo: John “Ric” Ricard

The city of New York on Saturday, Sept. 27, was the place where Dillon Danis, student of Marcelo Garcia earned gold. The 20-year-old brown belt took gold in the middleweight and absolute divisions of the 2014 IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship, closing with teammate Jonathan Satava. The Alliance team member won five fights in the tournament.

Most athletes prefer to rest after an exhausting tournament, but not Dillon. He made sure to train nine rounds of eight minutes with the black belt star Joao Miyao, also winner of the event. “His philosophy on Jiu-Jitsu looks like mine: always attack,” says the brown belt.

In conversation with GRACIEMAG, the athlete says his dream of becoming the next American world champion is on track, and talks about the importance of fighting the absolute. Learn from the beast:

GRACIEMAG: After your great performance at the no-gi Pan, are you already dreaming about the black belt?

DILLON DANIS: I look forward to getting my black belt because I can’t wait to test myself against the best fighters in the world. Since I was 15 years old, I dreamed about becoming the next American black belt world champion. However I’m not in a rush, I believe my professor Marcelo Garcia will aid me in reaching that goal whenever he feels I’m ready to make that transition to black belt.

One of your interesting matches was the absolute semifinal against Dainis Nguyen-Huu. Can you walk us through that one?

Prior to that match, I fought two ultra-heavyweights, so nonetheless I was relieved that he [Dainis] was also a middleweight. At the start of the match, I set the pace very high because I knew that it was essentially a finals match, since my teammate had already made it to the final. I was able to quickly secure a victory via one arm choke and secure another absolute title with my teammate Jon Satava.

Dillon training with Joao Miyao. Photo: Personal Archive
Dillon training with Joao Miyao. Photo: Personal Archive

After the competition you trained with João Miyao. What did your learn training with him?

I enjoy training with Joao because he has a tenacious attitude and relentless pace that leads to a wide variety of attacks. His philosophy sinks up with mine of just trying your best to not stall or rest. I came away from the training session with a renewed sense to continue being aggressive regardless of the position and to keep moving forward.

Can you give our readers some valuable lesson you may have learned while conquering the no-gi Pan?

The most valuable takeaway from No-Gi Pan would be to always compete in the absolute, if possible. I always learn something new about myself as a competitor and person competing in the absolute division. It’s always great to test yourself potentially against someone twice your size and since you will compete with the best of best of the divisions you will make yourself a better fighter and martial artist.

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