MANILA, Philippines – All mixed martial arts (MMA) competitors eagerly seek to flaunt their talents on an international stage, with the world’s largest company, Ultimate Fighting Championship, being their dream destination.
Before becoming a fast-rising star in ONE Championship, Filipino-American Mark Striegl once dreamt of becoming a UFC fighter.
For only 6 years in the sport, Striegl easily established himself as one of the top Pinoy MMA prospects with stellar stints in different promotions across the Asian region such as Pacific Xtreme Combat, Legend FC and Ultimate Reality Combat Championship, to name a few.
But the MMA organization that inched him closer to his UFC dream was PXC, a Guam-based combat company which served as the footstool for prizefighters such as Roldan Sangcha-an, Jon Tuck, Hyun Gyu Lim, Dustin Kimura, Louis Smolka and Michinori Tanaka to be noticed by the UFC.
In addition, PXC has held 14 of its last 27 fight cards in Manila, and since its first Philippine venture in June 2011, it has been a staple of the local MMA scene, spawning top-notch Filipino contenders like Crisanto Pitpitunge, Jenel Lausa, Ale Cali, Glen Ranillo and Rolando Gabriel Dy.
Striegl had an impressive run in PXC as he scored jaw-dropping submission victories over the likes of Robert Wusstig and then-lightweight titleholder Harris Sarmiento, leading him for a potential call-up from the world’s premier MMA league.
However, a disappointing setback to Jang Yong Kim derailed his opportunity to enter the UFC when he squared off with the gritty Korean for the vacant PXC featherweight belt in September 2013.
In the aforementioned encounter, Kim fastened a Kimura lock and then applied a leg-scissor choke to compel Striegl to tap in the third round.
Although his goal of strutting his wares in the UFC was on the line, the 27-year-old stalwart opted to part ways with PXC and directed his career-path to ONE in December 2014.
According to Striegl, he is not closing his doors on his UFC dream despite his healthy working relationship with ONE.
“Never say never,” he told Rappler.
However, Striegl admitted that he is exuberantly happy being at ONE because he was privileged to fight in front of his countrymen.
“Honestly, I am very happy with ONE Championship right now. They’re treating me very well. They are the biggest MMA promotion in Asia. To be fighting regularly for them in the Philippines, it’s a dream come true of mine,” he stated.
Striegl is slated to face Australian combatant Reece McLaren in the co-headliner of ONE Championship’s “Spirit of Champions” event on Friday, December 11. – Rappler.com
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