A name familiar to many of the MMA fans in the arab World, Jarjis “Man Mountain” Danho, will be making his debut on the biggest stage, the UFC, in less than 7 days against Daniel Omielanczuk at UFC Fight Night 84.
Jarjis was last seen sharing a cage with Stefan Traunmueller at Desert Force 17 where he emerged victorious after a brutal display of ground and pound that would make Mark Coleman proud.
All of us here at ArabsMMA would like to extend a big OSSS to Jarjis for reaching this incredible milestone. We managed to get 20 minutes of Jarjis’ time during the final week of preparation and spoke to him about his incredible journey to the UFC.
WHO IS JARJIS DANHO?
To many of us, Jarjis is a heavyweight monster who is currently ranked as the number 1 Heavyweight in Germany and one of continental Europe’s most promising fighters. But it wasn’t all good times. In fact, his journey to become what he is today is one of challenges, setbacks and a great story of perseverance.
Danho was born in the Syrian town of Malikiyeh into a minority Assyrian family, a city he lived in until the age of 6 when his father, in lieu of the Iran-Iraq war, decided that his family would be better off building their future in Europe. The Danho family eventually found their way to Germany where they were settled and then resettled between different cities before eventually settling in a small city. The Danhos would try to survive day by day, never knowing if they would be allowed to remain permanently in Germany. Jarjis, knowing he had to do his part to help his family, began working odd jobs since the age of 13.
As with most youths in Europe, Jarjis became a fan of soccer at first and then eventually found powerlifting. He did not participate in any martial arts sports until the age of 27 when he took up boxing, not that he believes this puts him at any disadvantage as he says himself:
“A lot of the fighters who are my age have been through countless wars already and have suffered a lot of injuries over the years. I am fresh and healthy going into the most important phase of my career.”
He still didn’t consider MMA as a potential career in the making but his coaches at the time saw potential in him and encouraged him to give MMA a try and go for his first fight. He promptly won in ten seconds via gigantic Slam (and a few punches).
GETTING INTO THE UFC
Jarjs would fight on the European circuit three more times, amassing a record of 3-0-1 in that time. After his second fight, he made acquaintances with Tim Leidecker, his future manager, who would go on to play a big role in shaping his career.
“I signed with Control Master Management, the only professional management company in Germany and one of the best in Europe after my second fight…. We were working towards the goal of eventually signing with the UFC for the last three years. It “only” took seven fights to get there, but let me tell you this road was long, rocky and frustrating”
Most of us will know him from his stint with Desert Force where he loomed large over the heavyweight division. Jarjis at the time had a record of 3-0-1 yet was unable to find any more willing opponents to face in the German MMA scene. Jarjis dispatched his two opponents with relative ease during his tenure and was in the eyes of most fans in line for a title fight to crown the inaugural heavy weight champion in Desert Force. Then came the call he was waiting for…
The UFC called… They were looking for a replacement for Konstantin Erokhin for the UFC Glasgow card in July, 2015 to face Daniel Omielanczuk. But it was not to be:
“They (Desert FC) wouldn’t let me go before my contract was up, so I had to wait for it to expire. If I was free to leave back then, I could have already fought in the UFC twice, once in July and once in the winter.”
He doesn’t harbor any negative feelings towards the DFC officials however:
“Getting to compete for Desert Force was definitely a good experience. I owe Mohammed Mirza a big thanks for the opportunity. Not only did I get to fight closer to my country of birth, but they also worked very hard to find opponents for me”
The irony that he is now facing Daniel Omielanczuk is not lost on the big man.
Many fans will be waiting to see how Jarjis fares against UFC caliber opponents. He wants to prove that he belongs in that cage with the big boys of the UFC and wants to make the Aramaic/Assyrian community as well as his fans proud.
“I want to fight the champion on day. But I am realistic about the fact that I’m only starting out and I still have a lot to learn.”
Jarjis has a clear vision for his fight career, and even seems to have a rough idea of what he would like to do once he hangs up the gloves.
“I love cooking and I’ve worked in our family restaurant for a long time. I dream of opening up my own steak house with a big stove right in the middle of the place where I can do live cooking for the guests.”
Jarjis Danho fights Daniel Omielanczuk on UFC Fight Night 84 on Saturday the 27th of February in London, England.
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