Marc Diakiese: From the Congo to the UFC

Marc Diakiese enters the Octagon before facing Drakkar Klose during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside the T-Mobile Arena on July 7, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The road to the UFC’s octagon is a hard, mentally challenging battle. But not everyone has to grow up with the hardships and challenges like that of UFC lightweight and former BAMMA Lonsdale British lightweight champion, Marc Diakiese. MMASucka was fortunate to talk to Diakiese and get an exclusive look into some of his amazing stories.

The Big Move

Diakiese’s battle did not begin in the cage. It started much sooner than anyone would like and at a very early age. Diakiese grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly known as Zaire until 1997) and lived there until around the age of 12. Diakiese made a very hard choice and chose to relocate to England from the Congo in his teenage years.It was here in England, just a handful of years later, Diakiese would begin an MMA journey that would lead him to the world’s biggest stage.

Diakiese told MMASucka he found MMA around the age of 17. He was looking for a way to stay fit and out of trouble. Marc had been getting into trouble with the local boys and wanted a way to change that. Diakiese went on to earn an amateur record of 9-0 and collect three different titles simultaneously.

“We couldn’t find anyone to fight me at the amateur level so it was time to turn pro,” Diakiese stated. Diakiese began his pro career with a 4-0 record before moving to BAMMA, one of England’s biggest MMA organizations.

Time in BAMMA

Diakiese’s first taste of the big stage came with his time in BAMMA in 2014. BAMMA has been one of the UK’s premier MMA organizations since its beginning in 2009. Diakiese competed in an impressive five bouts within a 13-month span.

In just his third bout with BAMMA at BAMMA 19, he defeated Jack McGann by unanimous decision to become the new BAMMA Lonsdale British lightweight champion. Diakiese went on to defend the title twice, both ending in first round knockouts in less than one minute. After an impressive pro career in London, Diakiese felt it was time to make the move to the UFC.

Entering the UFC

The big debut for Diakiese happened at UFC 204, almost a full year after his last successful knockout title defense at BAMMA 25. Diakiese took on Lukasz Sajewski, who was making his third appearance inside the octagon. Diakiese was also the youngest fighter on the card at the age of 23.

Sajewski ended up taking the first round in the eyes of many with good ground control. Diakiese did have an iconic moment with 2:38 left to go in the round. He was able to get Sajewski back to his feet who had a very loose guillotine choke, followed with a feet over head body slam to the mat.

Diakiese looked much more comfortable going into the second round, wearing down Sajewski with strikes. Referee Leon Roberts called an end to the contest with 20 seconds to go in the second round, earning Diakiese his first UFC victory and improving his pro record to 10-0. After this big win, it was time for Diakiese to make a change in training camps.

Finding a New Camp Home

In January 2017, just a few months before his bout with Teemu Packalen, Diakiese changed fight camps moving to the famed American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida.

“It was just a lot easier,” Diakiese told MMASucka. “I was driving two hours one way for training so I was spending four hours every day just driving. My strength and conditioning coach was an hour away so that’s six hours a day just driving.” The convenience of having the best coaches in the world under one roof made it a much easier task compared to how he was training in England.

Diakiese will look to use UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier as a training partner for his upcoming bout. Poirier has a matchup with Eddie Alvarez the following week. “Dustin is a southpaw and so is Nasrat.” Since changing camps, Marc has lost two bouts but has a chance to get back to his winning ways when he takes on Nasrat Haqparast on July 22, 2018 in Hamburg, Germany.


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