Chael Sonnen’s Submission Underground 4 takes place on May 14, and in the main event, a score will be settled when Jake Shields takes on Dillon Danis.
The rivalry between the two has been simmering ever since the infamous bottle throwing incident at the #UFC202: #McGregor vs. #Diaz II press conference last August. Speaking exclusively to Champions.co earlier this week, Shields explained how the two were finally offered a platform to settle their differences.
“I think it was Chael who gave me a call and asked me if I was interested in a match with Dillon,” Shields said. “I said ‘Yeah, he’s a really talented young grappler and I think there’s a nice little backstory to that match.’ Obviously, we have a little rivalry warmed up already with the Nate Diaz [and Conor McGregor] thing, so yeah I think it’s a match plenty would people would want to see and it’s also one I wanted. I think we’re both two exciting grapplers and it’s a matchup that will get people excited. The fact there is a rivalry and bad blood already there makes it all the more exciting for the fans.”
When asked whether the rivalry between the two is real, or whether it’s just for promotional purposes, Shields was adamant that the two really didn’t see eye-to-eye.
“You know, there’s definitely real bad blood between us,” Shields said. “I don’t hate Dillon—I’m sure he’s not necessarily a bad guy, but we’ve got a grudge and a score that needs to be settled. He’s a young, cocky kid that’s full of himself. We’ve thrown bottles at each other, cussed each other out a few times, and almost got in a fight or two, so yeah, there’s real bad blood.”
While complimentary of his grappling skills, Shields wasn’t so kind when it came to talking about Danis’ character. The former Strikeforce champion admitted he was a little confused by some of the social media posts Danis had posted lately and was struggling to determine whether it was all just a joke or not.
“Look, Dillon is obviously a great grappler—he’s won the Pan Ams and the Worlds so there’s no denying that he’s a very accomplished grappler,” Shields said. “He’s getting hype by riding Conor’s coattails though, no one can deny that. He’s taking advantage of it no doubt and it’s hard to gauge how much he actually believes in it, or how much he’s just trying to promote himself. He’s been a bit of a douchebag—posting pictures of himself covered in twenty dollar bills in a pink hat and holding a BB gun trying to look a gangster. I’m not sure if he’s just trying to look like an idiot or if he really is that much of a douchebag”
It was recently reported by FloGrappling that Danis and Mansher Khera had been banned from Marcelo Garcia Jiu-Jitsu. Shields said he hadn’t heard why, but he expected it was something to do with the sort of behavior he’d just mentioned.
“All I know is Marcelo Garcia is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met,” Shield said. “Dillon has been with Marcelo a bunch of years, so the fact he will go as far as banning him goes to show you that he (Danis) really is a douchebag. I would imagine that Marcelo just doesn’t want that sort of showman in his gym. He [Danis] has probably had too much of Conor rub off on him and I think Marcelo probably wouldn’t want that sort of character hanging around the gym. As I said, I don’t know exactly why he’s been banned, but that’s what I would expect.”
Rivalry or no rivalry, Shields says the matchup should be an exciting one for the fans. The two-time WSOF title contender explained that both of them would be looking for a finish and that neither were the sort to stall and ride the clock out.
“I think we match up well and that’s why I think it’s going to be exciting,” Shields said. “Neither of us are the type to just shut it down and stall. He’s going to go out there and try to finish me, and I’ll go out there and try to finish him. Both of us are looking for finishes and both of us will look to end it. When you get a clash of styles like that it makes it exciting for the fans. The best case scenario is I go out there and finish him right away—he’s not an easy guy to submit, though, and I’m not expecting to go out there and submit him in like a minute. I think I’ll wear him down and then catch him.”