Ahead of his fight this Friday (July 7) against Drakkar Klose, British lightweight Marc Diakiese outlines his short and long-term plans to Fighters Only’s Tony Reid and reveals the extent of his fighting obsession.
Q: You won your UFC debut at UFC 204 in Manchester, England. Now, having some time to step back and reflect on the fight, what are your thoughts?
Marc Diakiese: I enjoyed every single bit of it. It was great. I always like to come back and look at what I did wrong. I know people commented a lot about my hype train. My hype train is real. I believe what I am doing is right. I have worked hard to get here. I messed up the first round. I rushed in and got taken down. It bothered me a little bit. I have come back and started to do even more ground work. Lately I have been displaying my striking but I don’t think my striking is even where I want it to be yet.
Q: The hype surrounding you and your debut coming into that fight was huge. You showed it was well-deserved and well-earned. What are your short-term and long-term goals in the sport?
MD: Since I started in MMA, I am used to having titles. I keep saying that. The long-term goal is winning that title. I just feel like a number right now to the UFC. I want to have that title. I want to feel important. I want to have that name. The main goal is to work toward that title. You are nobody until you get that title.
Q: Many times we hear of Octagon jitters the first time a fighter steps into UFC competition. You had none of that from what we hear.
MD: I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t have any jitters. This is what I have been working the past six years for. It was my dream to get here. I wanted to go out there and have fun. I have put the time in. I have put time in that other fighters don’t put in. I don’t feel like most UFC fighters put in the amount of time I do. Just getting in there and fighting felt amazing. I didn’t want to have to worry about anything. I wanted to fight and whatever happened, happened.
Q: What was the most surprising aspect of your UFC debut?
MD: What surprised me was I got taken down, I got up and hit him with that slam. I started hitting him with big shots. Any other smaller promotion would have stopped it then. But it carried on. I was like, wow, he didn’t stop the fight. I was thinking, now I am in the UFC. Okay, I am in a fight!
Q: Everyone in the MMA community was talking about that Rampage-esque slam. It was one of the highlights of the evening.
MD:Everywhere I am going and everywhere on social media… all they are taking about is that slam. Everyone is texting me about that slam. That slam. That slam. I was worried about getting taken down and people are like, “No. That slam.” I did something wrong. “No. That slam.” It’s great that people enjoyed it. That’s what I want to do. I want people to remember the stuff I do in there. I want to be remembered by people.
Q: You have said that you will be a big name and be a big name very soon. This game is about skill but also about marketability. How are you positioning yourself to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes your way?
MD: I believe it’s about hard work. With marketing, with the way I carry myself, I realize I am marketable. I know people like to watch me. Just like Anderson Silva, nobody wanted him because he couldn’t really speak English, but, by fighting so well, everybody still wanted to see him fight. I do feel like I am marketable and I will take it as it comes.
Q: Is it true that you got your start in MMA after randomly walking into an MMA gym without knowing what the sport was all about?
MD: I walked into the gym because I just saw it as a gym. I was into sports and I wanted to do something. I just walked in and I had no intention of fighting. I didn’t know what MMA was. I wanted nothing to do with it. I just walked in, joined in and started doing BJJ.
Q: You are a super athletic guy. What other sports did you play growing up?
MD: I played center for a youth soccer program. It was far from where I live, though. I couldn’t get to training. I decided to quit. I left and went to another team. I broke my leg and decided that day I was never going to play soccer again. I was going to do something else.
Q: Is it safe to say you are obsessed with fighting?
MD: Honestly, I dream about fighting. When I’m sleeping, I dream about fighting. My brain functions on fighting. I think about fighting. That’s all I do. If I’m not doing it, I’m watching it. If I’m not watching it, I’m doing something else to do with fighting. I find myself walking around throwing punches for no reason. It’s an obsession. Even my girlfriend asks, “Why are you always punching your hands?” I am walking around shadowboxing and I don’t even realize I’m doing it.