By: Nick Portella
What’s good fight fans? Today I will be sitting down with amateur fighter ready to turn pro Mike “Diesel” Duckett. Mike holds multiple titles at multiple weight classes and is ready to claim another one. Let’s sit down with Mike and talk for a bit.
Nick: What does it mean (for you) to be a fighter?
Mike: Fighting is life to me. Being a fighter is all I truly know. I’ve been fighting my whole life in some way, shape, or form. To be a fighter means I’m living because the only time I won’t be a fighter is when I’m dead.!
Nick: At what age did you begin to train martial arts?
Mike: I started traditional martial arts such as karate around the age of 11. I started training MMA at the age of 20.
Nick: What disciplines do you train in and what belts do you have in them?
Mike: I train exclusively in mma so that consists of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and no gi jiu-jitsu. Since there’s really no traditional ranking system for mma I can’t really say I have a belt or rank in any specific discipline because I train all of them together.
Nick: You currently have an amateur fight record of 13-8. You also hold the QCFC welterweight title, XFS Midwest lightweight title, Gateway Fighting Championship middleweight title, and vacated the QCFC lightweight championship. When do you plan to start your professional career?
Mike: Well I wanted to end my amateur career on a nice win streak so as long as I’m doing what I’m doing it looks like in October I’ll be fighting for the Caged Aggression title and that will be my last amateur fight. Assuming I win of course.
Nick: I know you began training at Mardy’s Martial Arts in Rock Island, IL. You now train at MMAG in Davenport. How long have you been with MMAG?
Mike: I’ve been with MMAG since the beginning of my last fight camp so about 2 months now and I feel like the difference is very noticeable.
Nick: With 8 of your wins coming via KO/TKO what is your favorite strike to use?
Mike: Any punch that I throw with my right hand.
Nick: What would you say your best attribute is in the cage?
Mike: I would have to say my composure. Even if the fight is personal which sometimes it happens. I mean it’s a fight so we’re not exactly friends in there. I can stay calm and not fight with emotion which was one of my early downfalls, but now I can remain calm even in bad positions and keep my mind clear and fight smart.
Nick: Do you feel that you represent the next generation of fighter in some ways? Do you feel any pressure to represent that next generation?
Mike: In a way I feel I do because I train in MMA as opposed to training in boxing and wrestling and trying to adjust those styles to MMA. In the same sense I feel like the next generation of fighter is gonna far exceed me. There are 3 year old kids out there hitting armbars and muay thai combos like crazy so the pressure for the next generation of fighter isn’t on me.
Nick: You currently hold titles at middleweight, lightweight, and welterweight. Which weight are you most comfortable fighting at?
Mike: I’ve had my last two fights at middleweight and I dominated two of the top guys in the Midwest so I’m comfortable at this weight especially since my weight cut is fairly easy. My last amateur fight and at least the beginning of my pro career will be at welterweight where I feel like I will have the perfect mixture of speed and power.
Nick: Your nickname is Diesel. Who gave it to you and why?
Mike: My brother and my training partner Brandt Cooper actually gave me the name. We were just out having a few drinks one night and he just called me Mike Diesel and it’s stuck with me ever since.
Nick: May 20 you will be facing undefeated Phil Ahrens from team Evolution for the True Revolution middleweight title. Do you have a prediction for the fight?
Mike: My prediction is a war. He is a lot taller than me and tough. I feel like he hasn’t felt raw power like mine and hasn’t really faced adversity in the cage either. I think he’ll come out trying to throw down which I’ll happily welcome but in the end I think my power and experience will lead me to victory via 2nd round TKO.
Nick: What advice could you give to a new fighter starting his amateur career?
Mike: Find a gym where you can grow and dedicate yourself. Nothing is free in that cage. It’s all earned. Pick smart fights. You don’t want to burn your mind and body out while still an amateur.
Nick: Who is your favorite MMA fighter past or present?
Mike: I have to go with the man, the myth, the legend The Notorious Connor McGregor.
Nick: MIke have you Submitted to the Takeover?
Mike: This is Mike “Diesel” Duckett and I have Submitted to the Takeover.
I enjoyed talking with an up and coming MMA prospect like Mike. I wish him well in his upcoming title fight and hope to speak with him again. Signing off for The MMA TakeOver this is Nick Portella. @NickPortellaMMA