When the trailer for the upcoming EA Sports UFC 3 video game hit the internet, everyone who is anyone in the UFC was there in digital form, from McGregor and Liddell to GSP and “Mighty Mouse.”
And if lightweight prospect Marc Diakiese needed any reminders that he is considered a fighter with the potential to join those aforementioned names in the history books in the coming years, he just had to fast forward 47 seconds to his appearance in the trailer. It’s something he’s still taking in.
“It felt great,” Diakiese said. “It made me realize that they’ve got hopes for me. As long as I keep doing the work, I believe I’ll get somewhere. They understand and they believe in me, so it’s about doing the work.”
It’s why Diakiese has set up shop in Florida with American Top Team, far away from his lady and two kids back in England. It’s about the work and getting in reps with top level pros as he chases championship glory.
“I’m here for a reason,” he said. “I’m learning and getting out there and performing.”
A member of the UFC roster since October 2016, the 24-year-old won three straight in the Octagon, decisioning Frankie Perez and knocking out Lukasz Sajewski and Teemu Packalen. But in July, his Las Vegas debut turned into his first pro loss, as he dropped a split decision to fellow up and comer Drakkar Klose.
“I was very disappointed,” Diakiese said of his first setback. “I realized that there’s a very small margin of error, and I thought I did really bad, but then I watched it back, and to be honest, I felt like I won the first round and the third. I felt like, if anything, it could have been a draw. But I don’t want to take anything from him. I sort of accepted it and it just made me a better fighter. Now I understand I can lose at any time.”
Taking responsibility for his loss and using it to learn and motivate himself as he returns on Dec. 30 to face New Zealand’s Dan Hooker at UFC 219, Diakiese has moved on from the Klose fight in a mature manner. That doesn’t mean it didn’t hit him hard for a while.
“I can’t lie; it took me a week to really think about it, like how did this happen to me?” he said. “I questioned a lot of things, but through time, I’ve gone back to training and, to be honest, I don’t feel like I lost any hype. I got so much support and I had some nice messages, and I realized people lose in MMA. In the UFC, you’re fighting the best guys, but as long as I keep learning and moving forward, I’ve got very big potential to make something of myself. It’s just a matter of time.”
That’s the consensus when it comes to the talented 155-pounder, and a week from Saturday he can reintroduce himself in style if he can pull off one of his trademark highlight reel finishes.
“That’s just the fighter I am,” he said. “I want to finish fights. I think sometimes I feel like I put too much pressure on myself because I want to perform every time.”
That’s good pressure, though, and with Hooker fresh from a Performance of the Night knockout of veteran Ross Pearson in June, Diakiese believes “The Hangman” just might be willing to give him the kind of fight he wants at T-Mobile Arena.
“He’s coming off the fight with Ross Pearson, his confidence will be up and I believe he’ll want to come and trade with me,” Diakiese said. “If he fights the way he fought Ross Pearson, I’ll be very happy with that. But I’m expecting a fight and I’m doing everything.”
Including preparing for the possibility of a wrestling match if that breaks out?
“If it goes in that area I think I’ll dominate, but I want to keep it standing. I took a loss and coming back, it’s gonna be a show, so I want to stand up.”