It’s hard not to get excited about British lightweight prospect Marc Diakiese. He arrives in the Octagon for the fist time on Saturday night for UFC 204 on the back of two sensational back-to-back sub-40 second knockouts and a perfect 9-0 pro record.
And it speaks volumes of the 23-year-old ‘Bonecrusher’ from Doncaster that his first opponent was due to be veteran Reza ‘Mad Dog’ Madadi. Yet the Swede, whose UFC career dates back to 2012, pulled out of the fight last week. And Diakiese admits he wasn’t surprised.
“I knew Reza would pull out of the fight. We’ve trained together before and I like Reza, he’s a nice guy. But he knew and I knew what was going to happen,” he says. “I held my own with him when we trained together and I was only a young guy then. Now I’m training three times a day. And everyone has noticed the improvement, so I think he was worried.”
Yet if Diakiese needs a startling reminder of the step up in level he’s about to take he need look no further than tomorrow’s replacement opponent, Poland’s Lukasz Sajewski. Like the Brit, Sajewski entered the UFC with an undefeated record last year, yet he’s failed to have his hands raised following two outings in the Octagon.
And while UK MMA is getting excited about Diakiese’s potential, the man himself is keen to keen his head out of the clouds and his mind on the job at hand. If he takes it one step as a time, he’s confident of fulfilling his destiny.
“I dont get carried away with stuff like the fans do. I just keep my head down and work hard. I know what I am capable of and I am starting to understand how far I can go in this sport. All I have to do is keep working, keep winning and everything else will take care of itself.”
Asked for a prediction on Saturday’s opening fight of he night, he adds: “I’m a finisher. I smell blood and I go for it. The referee has to pull me off. I’m not like Scott Askham (teammate), I like to make sure the job is done. But as long as I get the win I don’t care. It’s all about winning.”
* UFC 204: Diakiese vs. Sajewski kicks off the Fight Pass prelims on Saturday night. Check local listings for start times.