Having finally signed his UFC contract back in July, British Lightweight Marc Diakiese now has a date and opponent set for his promotional debut.
Diakiese’s first UFC bout will take place at UFC 204 in Manchester and interestingly his opponent is a familiar face, in the form of his former training partner Reza Madadi.
Prior to making the fulltime switch to ASW (Atherton Submission Wrestling), Diakiese spent a number of his training camps in Stockholm, Sweden at the All Stars Training center (home to the likes of Alexander Gustafsson, Ilir Latifi, Niklas Backstrom and Reza Madadi). So having finally made his way to the UFC he was perhaps a little surprised that his first assignment was against a former training partner.
“Well I wasn’t really expecting him as my first opponent as I have trained with him before. We have trained together, sparred together and he helped me with my rounds ahead of the Jack McGann fight (which took place at BAMMA 19) but it is what it is.”
“This is a fight. I have a lot of respect for him, he is a tough guy and has beaten some good names including Michael Johnson. But I really feel like this is my chance that I am being given to prove myself.”
Having both had the opportunity to throw down in the practice room both Diakiese and Madadi will gain an insight into their opponent which they usually are not accustomed to. But for Diakiese he believes the progression he has made since leaving All Stars has far surpassed any progression he sees in Madadi’s game.
“It was about a year or two ago that we actually sparred and I wasn’t at my best then. I have made a lot of progress since then and that has showed in my last few performances.”
“I don’t think that he has made any progress since I have been there. He has stayed the same fighter, he is gritty and comes forward and swings his hands. That is it.”
“I have noticed a lot of mistakes that I can capitalise on. I am younger and faster than he is.”
Madadi has shown in his past UFC fights that sometimes emotions get the best of him with the Norman Parke fight being the best example of this. Whilst Diakiese isn’t planning on getting into a verbal spat with Madadi ahead of their clash it seems that he may already be in the head of his opponent.
“It’s a bit weird really. I mean I really respect him a lot, but for some reason he has blocked me on all social media. He must of gone a bit emotional.”
“The thing is with me is I don’t plan on saying things, I just say it how it is. I’m not bothered how he feels, if he takes it wrong I don’t care.”
Having trained with Madadi and spent some time focusing on his past fights, Diakiese is fairly certain that he is going to be able to follow suit with his last two wins and put Madadi away inside the first five minutes.
“I have just been watching him and the things that he does. At his age and with his skill set I just start to see him slowing down and that why I cant see why I won’t be able to put him away in the first round.”
“People talk about Octagon jitters but I thrive when I am under pressure. This won’t feel any different to any other fights I have had in the past, just more organised and bigger.”
Diakiese is confidently calm ahead of the biggest fight of his career but the ASW fighter is looking forward to rising to the challenge and proving to the world that his call-up to the UFC is fully justified.
Be sure to follow Marc on twitter @Marc_Diakiese