After the double gold at the 2014 IBJJF New York Open, a brown belt taught by star Marcelo Garcia gained prominence in the Jiu-Jitsu scene. Dillon Danis, 20, won the middleweight and absolute, closing with teammates. The promising young athlete won five fights.
Dillon also dominated the middleweight category at the the Pans and Worlds this year.
In conversation with GRACIEMAG, the Alliance athlete told how he plays against heavier opponents, and passed on the lessons he learns from his teacher Marcelo.
GRACIEMAG: What did you do differently in this competition, Dillon?
DILLON DANIS: Nothing different. I always do the same thing. I want to dominant, that’s my style. I like to score as many points as possible while always attacking. I want my opponent to never want to fight me again.
In the middleweight category, you closed out the competition with your teammate Jonathan Satava. But, for that to happen, first you had to take on Tye Ryan Murphy of Team Lloyd Irvin. Talk me through how you subbed him.
I know from watching Tye before that he is very physical and aggressive so going in I knew I had to be smart and use my mind and go around his force using it against him, which I did eventually finishing with a toehold.
You were also successful in the open. What was the secret to beating that division?
For me I love fighting the absolute because it gives me the chance to try my Jiu-Jitsu against all sizes especially bigger opponents. A big thing for me is when I was growing up I was very weak and was always on the defense because I was training with men. When I was a kid my defense became really good so now when I fight bigger opponents I don’t have to change my style. I do the same thing: go for the kill because I have no fear. I attack without caution because I am comfortable in bad positions.
In the absolute semi final you overcame Gustavo. Can you talk about that one in some detail?
He was very flexible with very strong grips and the thing about strong grips is that they can’t last forever so I kept the pressure and never stopped moving forward until he got tired and I could work my game.
You are a student of one of the greatest talents ever produced by BJJ, Marcelo Garcia. What was your most unforgettable training session with him?
I don’t remember an exact session but every time I train with Marcelo it’s unforgettable. He is a special talent. I am so blessed to get to roll with him. I don’t know if there will ever be anyone like him again. People ask me all the time what it’s like to roll with him and I say I can’t explain; you have to feel it for yourself.
And what sorts of BJJ lessons does he currently pass onto you?
Marcelo is the best role model in Jiu-Jitsu and in life he has taught me so much on how to be humble and many other things. I can’t thank him enough but the best lesson he has taught me in Jiu- Jitsu is to always attack, never move backward.
At WPJJC this year you didn’t close it out with your teammate Satava. Do you have a policy against that? What is your opinion?
At our gym we have a policy as a team that you either fight or flip a coin to decide the winner so when the time comes we talk and choose what we’re gonna do between each other. In my opinion the big events should be fought because the fans deserve a fight but it’s easier said than done because my training partners are like family. We do everything together.