Interview: Tom Breese would be Happy to Punch Dillon Danis in the Face

Tom Breese was one of the most talked about prospects in European MMA ahead of his bout with Keita Nakamura last year at UFC London. The unbeaten Birmingham native got the job done on the night against the Japanese fighter, but picked up his first loss in a battle of up-and-comers against Sean Strickland four months later, at UFC 199.

It will be a different Breese that the international MMA community will digest on March 18 at the 02 Arena, London.

Having amicably parted ways with the world-renowned Tristar gym, Breese is back in familiar surroundings in his hometown working with various teams for MMA sparring, boxing and jiu-jitsu. Not only has the team behind the 25-year-old changed, but so has the weight division he will compete in.

No longer emaciating his rangy frame to make the welterweight ranks, Breese is confident that his best work will come at 185 lbs. The Englishman is thankful for what promises to be a very exciting introduction to the division against Oluwale Bamgbose in London, but it’s another name from the combat sports world that has elicited a big reaction from the usually reserved Breese lately.

Conor McGregor’s training partner and decorated jiu-jitsu player Dillon Danis’s aspirations to join the UFC ranks have struck a chord with Breese. Judging from Danis’s Instagram posts, he not only believes he can compete at the top table in MMA, but is dead set on becoming a champion under the UFC banner.

“It’s definitely insulting for him to think he can just come in here and dominate the MMA world,” said Breese.

“Granted, he’s a very good grappler, but he’s got to be more humble. He’s talking about being able to handle anyone in the UFC and he’s walking around like he’s God’s gift to the sport. He just seems like an idiot to me. I just don’t like that stuff. If the chance came up to fight him, I’d be more than happy to punch him in the face.

“He’s clever, I’ll give him that. He’s asking to fight Jon Jones in a grappling match. To be honest, given his pedigree, he probably would submit Jones in a grappling match, but I know he would be all over social media talking about how he can school the best fighter in the UFC if he did.

“If he fought Jon Jones in a real fight he would get demolished. It’s all just a way to build his name up. It’s kind of cheap to that without accomplishing anything, but I think that’s his game plan.”

Breese regularly trains with the John Danaher’s elite jiu-jitsu team in New York. Two of the most outstanding products of his system, Garry Tonon and Gordon Ryan have been vocal about their issues with Danis, but Breese claimed his view on the Marcelo Garcia black belt has nothing to do with his jiu-jitsu teammates.

“I know those guys don’t think much of him, but I wouldn’t say things like this if I didn’t feel this way. For me, I’d just be scrolling through Twitter or Instagram and I’d see this guy talking shit about what he would do in MMA, and that just pissed me off.

“I never really get involved in this kind of thing, but in the spur of the moment I was commenting on his posts and calling him out. I just found it very irritating to see this guy who has proved nothing in MMA talking that way.”

The 10-1 Brit thinks that the only reason why anyone is paying attention to the decorated jiu-jitsu star is due to his mimicking of McGregor’s style.

“All of this extra attention has come from his relationship with Conor McGregor. Based on the way he has been since he has been working with him, I guess McGregor is his role model because he’s trying to be like him so much.

“The thing about that it, McGregor is original and this guy just isn’t if he’s just copying everything his friend is doing.

“I really like Conor. I think he’s entertaining, he’s original and he’s unquestionably a great fighter, but it waters his originality down when he’s got all these guys trying to mimic him.

“Dillon should try to be his own man.”

Despite his discrepancies with Danis, Breese maintained that him getting a UFC debut isn’t completely beyond the realms of possibility. However, the former Tristar man is adamant that Danis would be better of facing someone with a relative lack of experience like Mickey Gall, rather than the championship elite.

“Absolutely I think it can happen. I think if he had one fight outside of the UFC he would probably be signed. Even with little or no experience, I think he would get picked up because of his accomplishments in jiu-jitsu, but most importantly, because of his relationship with Conor.

“Maybe Mickey Gall would be a good fight for him. He’d never be put in with someone of my caliber. That would be a nasty experience for him. It would be a really long night for him.

“I’d love to get my hands on him, even in a grappling match. I’d actually put money down to fight him I want to get in there with him that badly. He’s saying he’s ready for the UFC, but I doubt he’ll ever back up that claim up.”

@PetesyCarroll

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.