'Quiet, stoic, respectful' Max Humphrey won't let Bellator 222 foe Dillon Danis change style
NEW YORK – Max Humphrey has more professional MMA bouts than the man he’s fighting at Bellator 222. But he was still the lesser known presence among all the people whom he shared a dais with during a press conference Tuesday.
Sitting next to Chael Sonnen, Humphrey was asked to tell a little more about himself to those unfamiliar with him. He kept it brief.
“I’m not too great at the speaking parts, I’m just here to fight,” Humphrey said. “I let these guys do all the talking.”
Humphrey did give us a little, though. We found out, for instance, that for someone who’s “fought in barns with a hale bale ring,” the idea of having a Bellator debut at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden does feel “kind of crazy.”
Speaking to MMA Junkie backstage afterward, a slightly chattier Humphrey elaborated on what it means to be featured in such a high-profile stage this early in his MMA career.
“This is the most known stadium for fighting around the entire world, as far as I’m concerned,” Humphrey said. “If you do good here or even if you don’t, you got it out of the way. All the shell shock or whatever you want to call it. All this – it’s cool, but it’s just the superficial stuff to me. I’m more – I think fighters should just be quiet and fight.
“… It’s just my style – it’s always be quiet, stoic, respectful, regardless of who my opponent is or what they’re doing.”
That’s not a surprising outlook coming from a man whose T-shirt had the words “SILENCE IS GOLDEN.” But it is particularly interesting if you consider that the person he’s set to face on on June 14 seems to subscribe to pretty much the opposite philosophy.
Dillon Danis (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), whom Humphrey (3-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet in a catchweight bout, has a single pro MMA bout. But you probably couldn’t tell that by his demeanor and posture next to his veteran peers. There aren’t many MMA beginners that manage to get talked about quite as much as Danis does – and he knows it.
Some of that popularity, of course, stems from the excellence that the 25-year-old displayed on the mats during his successful Brazilian jiu-jitsu career. But he certainly did it a lot of favors with his boisterous outside-the-cage persona and social media presence, which many compare to that of friend Conor McGregor.
Humphrey doesn’t think “either one way is right or wrong.” But, asked about the idea of putting his hands on someone whose mentality contrasts so starkly with his, Humphrey got as close as he’s probably going to get at throwing a little heat Danis’ way.
“Yes, that does come into play,” Humphrey said. “It just boils down to styles. Fights are made by styles and there’s a style inside the cage and outside the cage. It’s how you live and how you are on a regular basis. I don’t try and force myself to be anything I’m not. I’m not a showy, flashy guy. That’s how it is. I’m not going to rise to the occasion and talk (expletive) to him, whatever. it’s just not how it’s going to be.”
But Humphrey, of course, does plan on rising to the occasion in another area. Say what you will about Danis, but there’s a reason why he’s such a popular call-out target. Wherever he is, he brings eyeballs along, and Humphrey is not oblivious as to what this particular win can do for his career.
Which is why, amid the frustration of bouts rescheduled and pushed back, Humphrey kept his eye on the prize.
“That’s like moving 30 percent in one lick,” Humphrey said. “Anything you can do in this game to really get ahead, most of the time, most people do it. There’s a few shady (expletive) that people will or won’t do. But, other than that, you take the opportunities when they’re there and then you just run with it. That’s all I want to do. I passed up a few fights waiting on this one, but it’s worth it.”
To hear more from Humphrey, check out the video above.