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Prospect Marc Diakiese: A lot of UFC fighters don’t train or think like I do

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There's a tiny bit of Conor McGregor inside Marc Diakiese. Especially when it comes to how he views himself compared to his peers.

Diakiese told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that he has worked with plenty of UFC fighters over the years, including at AllStars gym in Sweden, and he believes he is not quite like them.

"I've trained with a lot of UFC fighters," Diakiese said. "They don't train as I do and they don't think as I do. So that's what I'm thinking. I'm a little bit different."

Diakiese, 23, is coming off a second-round TKO of Lukas Sajewski in his UFC debut at UFC 204 last week in Manchester, England. The England native, by way of the Congo, had a tough time early in that fight, but rallied and really put it on Sajewski in the second round.

In terms of pure natural ability, Diakiese is off the charts and his skills are rounding into form as well. Many believe he is a future star in the already very loaded lightweight division.

Diakiese (10-0) feels like a great deal of his edge comes from the mental and not the physical. He observed the goings on backstage at UFC 204. He was a bit surprised about what he saw.

"In the back room, I see a lot of people seem to be panicking," Diakiese said. "They all look nervous, like they're going to be killed or something. At the end of the day, you're fighting. Just enjoy it. You wait for your entire life to get there."

Diakiese said he can't relate much to the nerves. There's something else that drives him. Not the butterflies in his stomach; perhaps a little something more sinister. Diakiese had a rough time growing up, emigrating from Africa with his uncle. He said he's estranged from his parents.

"My success comes from my background," he said. "I feel like I have anger behind me. I tunnel it through MMA. I feel if I didn't have MMA, I wouldn't know what to do. I use that to make me a better person."

A pretty damn good fighter, too. When asked how long it will take him to earn a title shot in the UFC, Diakiese was matter of fact — "probably another two fights." That would be quite the leap for a 23-year-old prospect in one of the toughest divisions in MMA.

Yet he doesn't feel that way. As naturally talented as Diakiese is inside the cage, his greatest gift might be between the ears.

"You've gotta be confident," he said. "I don't really like to talk crap, but this is me. I like to be honest."

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