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25th Oct 2016

EXCLUSIVE: British star Marc Diakiese ready to let the boos fuel his aggression for sophomore UFC fight

From home soil to the lion's den

Ben Kiely

Attention New York, rising star Mark Diakiese is coming your way… and he’s ready to put on a show.

The undefeated 23-year-old (10-0, 1-0 UFC) looked sensational in his promotional debut, knocking out Poland’s Lukasz Sajewski in the second round at UFC 204 in Manchester.

His stellar second round finish has earned him another trip to the Octagon as he goes up against Frankie Perez (10-2, 1-1 UFC) at UFC Albany on December 9.

Perez enters into this bout off the back of a ferocious first round knockout over Sam Stout at Fight Night 73 in August 2015. Although he has a penchant for submitting his opponents, with five of his wins coming this way, Diakiese isn’t in the least bit worried about the possibility of this fight being taken to the mat.

“People seem to think I’m not very good on the ground, but if you watch most of my fights I like to take it to the ground and can finish it from there. I’m not really bothered thinking about that, but I know my stand-up’s great. For the fans, obviously standing up is better.”

Diakiese albany

Perez is a New Jersey native, and is sure to have the East Coast crowd behind him on fight night. However, Diakiese is unfazed about the prospect of being the villain. He’s been there before.

“I live in Doncaster, so obviously a lot of my fights haven’t been on my home turf. Like when I fought in Manchester, I fought Kane Mousah, Jack McGann, it wasn’t my home it was theirs, so it doesn’t really bother me. At the end of the day it’s just me and you so it doesn’t really matter.”

If the crowd gets on his back because he’s an out-of-towner, Diakiese believes that will only spur him on to perform better. He feels that could only play against Perez, who will have the pressure of fighting on home soil weighing down on him.

“I’ve never really thought about it as a big deal – fighting in New York. At the end of the day, we’re fighting, so it doesn’t really make a difference. I’m guessing I’ll get booed, but it’s me and him in there fighting, that’s what matters. If I get booed, if anything, it would just make it worse for him, because I’m going to punish him even more.”

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 17: Michael Johnson celebrates following his win against Joe Lauzon in their middleweight bout at TD Garden on August 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Following his impressive debut, Diakiese turned some heads by claiming he would be willing to step in to fight elite lightweight Michael Johnson, should Khabib Nurmagomedov pull out of their scheduled bout at UFC 205. A bold move for the youngster considering ‘The Menace’ is a 15-fight veteran in the promotion and is coming off a thunderous first round knockout against Dustin Poirier,

However, Diakiese believes he has the ability to beat anybody on his day and Johnson is, after all, only human.

“I said I would jump in (to fight Johnson) if there was a pull-out. A fight’s a fight… he’s human. I believe what I have, my heart that I can dig deep into, I can win fights in ways other people can’t, so I know what it takes to beat a fighter. I can win fights in different ways. I’m confident in my own game and I can get out there and put on a proper fight.”

Diakiese has been heralded by many as the future of British MMA. He was inspired by fighters such as Jon Jones and Anthony Pettis to start training at 17, after a broken leg cut his fledgling football career short. Since joining the fight game, he has never looked back and has racked up 10-straight wins, but if you think he’s feeling any sort of pressure about maintaining a perfect record, you’d be dead wrong.

“I didn’t even realise I was 10-0 until after the (Sajewski) fight when I checked the website. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m 10-0 now!’ (laughs) I don’t let that play into my mind. I just go out there and fight. Undefeated doesn’t mean anything. I like fighting good guys, that’s all that matter.”

With an attitude like that, no wonder why the cognoscenti are pegging this young man to do great things in the sport.

Watch Marc in action at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Abdurakhimov on Friday, December, 9th live on UFC Fight Pass.