More than likely the dana 44 is from a older cj with 19 spline axles and is about a foot narrower and not really that strong. Best case it would be from a '86 CJ7 but they are also several inches shorter.
The 8.8 is where it's at. Correct bolt pattern, stronger than a dana 44, cheaper than a dana 44 and get the correct years from a explorer you get disc brakes. Some have 3.73's and 4.10's as well.
I'm trying to figure out the best way to get one under my cj.