Hemsworth mixed martial arts teacher Marc Diakiese is aiming to practice what he preaches when he makes his UFC debut on Saturday.
Diakiese, 23, carries an unbeaten record from his amateur and MMA days when he was a British champion, but is now stepping in with the big boys and faces experienced Iranian Reza Madadi on the UFC Fight 204: Bisping v Henderson 2 bill at the Manchester Arena.
Originally from Congo, he came over to live in Doncaster 11 years ago and now splits his training between ASW Manchester and Scott Askham’s ASW Hemsworth gym where he teaches twice a week.
Diakiese, who fights in the lightweight division (155 lbs), is regarded as one of the hottest British prospects in mixed martial arts with an MMA record of 9-0 and he cannot wait to fulfil his ambition by stepping into the UFC octagon.
He told the Express: “I’m really excited to be getting ready for my first UFC fight, it’s something I’ve been working towards for the past five or six years.
“It’s always been my dream to get into the UFC and my chance is here now.
“Training’s been going really well. We have been working on certain things that will help me win and it’s been going well.
“It’s a good time to be in the UFC with the increased exposure it’s getting, especially with Michael Bisping winning the world title and bringing it back to the UK.”
Saturday’s opponent is veteran Madadi, who has a professional record of 14 wins and four losses with a 3-2 record in the UFC and Diakiese has trained with him in the past.
He said: “I know what he brings to the table, he’s gritty. But I’ve got to be confident because I know how hard I’ve worked to get here and if I wasn’t confident there would no point in being in the UFC.
“Reza’s a very respected name, he’s a big name and everybody in the sport knows who he is. He’s faced some of the top guys, like Michael Johnson, who he beat.
“But I class myself as one of the top lightweights so I’m not going in there thinking I’m a debutant, I’m going in confident in my own game.
“I’m going in there to put on a show. I’m not worried about anything my opponent’s got to bring.
“I’m 9-0 in MMA, I’ve won British titles and I’ve won all my fights. It definitely gives me confidence now I’m stepping up and I’m always working hard as well. I don’t take anything for granted and I’m always looking to improve all the time.”
Diakiese is taking inspiration from Hemsworth UFC fighter Scott Askham.
He added: “Scott’s not passed on any tips as such, but I have followed him in UFC and seen all the work he’s put in and the training.
“I’ve learned from him, but now it’s my time.”
Diakiese teaches Thai boxing and mixed martial arts at the ASW Hemsworth gym, above The Alpha Club, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for all ages.
Watch UFC 204: Bisping vs. Henderson 2 live on BT Sport 2 from 1am BST on the morning of Sunday, October 9 or catch the Early Prelims on UFC Fight Pass from 11.30pm BST on Saturday, October 8.