UFC star Marc Diakiese - who trains in Hemsworth with fellow mixed martial arts fighter Scott Askham - is keen to impress in his next contest after today’s confirmation that he will take on Germany’s Nasrat Haqparast in a lightweight bout at UFC Hamburg on July 22.
After a brilliant start to life in the UFC when he won his first three contests and was billed as one of the most exciting prospects in the organisation, Diakiese suffered a split decision loss to Drakkar Klose last July and was beaten via guillotine choke submission in the third round in perhaps his most high profile fight against Dan Hooker on December 30 at UFC 219.
He is looking to bounce back and is feeling good, but knows it will be difficult against an opponent in front of his hometown crowd in just his second UFC appearance.
It will help, however, that he has trained with the German.
“I feel good going into this fight. I have had some time off and I am ready to go in there and get the win,” said Diakiese.
“I have actually trained with Nasrat before so it will be a different kind of fight.
“Since my last fight I have realised that before I didn’t know if I was a striker or a grappler. I have actually realised that my strongest point is my stand up and this is what I have been working on.”
On Nasrat and his previous eight knockouts before signing with the UFC, Diakiese said: “His first fight in the UFC seemed very comfortable. When we trained together I was the wrestler and he was the striker. But now I think I am the better striker.
“Eight knockouts makes him very dangerous because he is finishing fights. Some of the fights I didn’t watch. No disrespect but most of his fights have been one-sided. They were fights that he should have won. Coming up against me is going to be his biggest challenge.”
On what he has learnt from his last fights and goals for 2018, Diakiese added: “This is my first fight of the year and the time I have had off I have been focusing on myself.
“I have focused on what needs to improve and I have done that. My goal is to keep learning and to keep moving forward and who knows where that will take me.”
Tickets to watch Marc in action at UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: VOLKAN VS. SHOGUN go on general sale on Friday, April 27 at 09:00 am BST via Eventim (eventim.de/UFC)