On 14 September, Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) will rock the Philippine MMA scene as the Guam-based MMA promotion showcases its biggest card of the year at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Philippines with PXC 39.
Headlining the fight card is a world championship title fight between one of South Korea’s top featherweight fighters, Jang Yong Kim, who will face the undefeated Filipino MMA icon, Mark “Mugen” Striegl. The fight between Kim and Striegl is one of the most anticipated fights on the Asian MMA scene today. Two of the toughest 145 pounders will battle it out to prove who is the best in dude in the PXC division.
This is a very important fight for both fighters. While Striegl aims to get his first-ever world title, he must try to keep his unblemished record against the super talented South Korean fighter. However, Striegl is no stranger to tough challenges in his MMA career, as he has already faced and defeated many talented fighters in Asia including the highly regarded South Korean Bae Yong Kwon, former PXC world bantamweight champion Crisanto Pitpitunge, top Japanese featherweight warrior “Bancho” Yusuke Kawanago and many others in his division. But despite those great wins, his biggest was when he submitted the WEC, KOTC and Strikeforce veteran and current PXC lightweight king Harris “The Hitman” Sarmiento at PXC 34.
Now that he is set for the most important fight of his career against Kim, Striegl is all fired up to showcase his talent in front of his home crowd on 14 September, and motivated to make history as the first-ever Filipino featherweight champion of the PXC. I spoke with Mark during his fight camp for the title shot.
First of all, how do you feel about the opportunity to fight for a world title at PXC 39 against Jang Yong Kim?
I’m definitely excited. I’ve been lucky enough to travel and fight in many different cities across Asia, but I’ve never fought for a title. This will be a first for me and I’m amped and ready to go.
Give us your thoughts on your next opponent?
Jang Yong Kim is a dangerous fighter. He has great grappling and knockout power in both hands. He’s also very large for the featherweight class since he use to fight in a heavier division. Seems like he’s surprisingly agile too, seeing him do a backflip off the cage at the last show. [laughs]
Talk to us a bit about your preparations for arguably the biggest fight of your MMA career to date.
I’ve undergone the usual preparations, while making the necessary adjustments for this particular opponent. I did part of my training camp in Tokyo, Japan with Wajyutsu Keisyukai GODS and now I’m back in Baguio training with all the beasts at Fight Corps MMA.
PXC is a mammoth MMA promotion in the Philippines today. Are you nervous at all about fighting for this organization and being on national television?
I’m more excited than anything. I’m just looking forward to the fight and I’m happy to be part of a stellar promotion like PXC.
Since your start in MMA you have given amazing performances in all your fights. What do you feel are the attributes which have aided in the success you have obtained so far in your career?
I believe I’m one of the hardest working guys in Asian MMA. I also have a great group of people to train and work with at Fight Corps MMA and Wajyutsu Keisyukai GODS.
I know that you are coming off a minor injury. How do you stay busy and motivated despite this?
Injuries are part of the game. Of course it was discouraging to pull out of my last fight but it does happen. All you can do is shake it off and move forward.
With the short break, you now find yourself back in action on 14 September in a title fight. Overall how does it feel to be back fighting again?
It feels great. I’m hungry to fight and I can’t wait to step into the PXC cage and hear the shouts of all my fellow Filipinos in the audience.
The venue brings an interesting dynamic including star-studded audience of celebrities. From a mental aspect does it play a role in your confidence or nerves going into the fight?
I don’t really think about those things before or during the fight. Until the fight is over, all my focus is on Kim.
What do you feel separates you from your opponent that will give you the victory in this fight?
I won’t stop coming forward until I find a way to win.
Being one of the biggest names in the MMA scene in the Philippines, how important is it for you to win this fight and what do you feel winning the title will do for your career?
For an MMA fighter, your next fight is always your biggest fight. However, this fight is for the title and I’ll be fighting in Manila, on Philippine soil, so it’s definitely important that I win.
It’s a known fact that Mark Striegl loves food. In your opinion, what kind of food should MMA fighters eat to stay healthy?
I think a proper clean and healthy diet is extremely important for MMA fighters. I have a very strict diet that I adhere to in leading up to my fights. The diet includes oatmeal, brown rice, vegetables, and chicken breast. Basically, before a fight, I eat everything that I wouldn’t normally eat. It’s quite monotonous and boring if anything, but it has to be done.
Does having “good looks” attract girls to fights?
I don’t know about that. I think girls like fights for the same reason that guys do. It’s raw and it’s real. It’s black and white.
I know you’re not looking past Kim, but if you get the belt on September 14th, do you have plans on dropping to bantamweight and challenging Tanaka for his title or moving up and challenging Harris Sarmiento for his lightweight belt?
I like where I’m at. 145 pounds suits me well. Dropping means more time dieting so I’ll probably stay here. [laughs] Never say never though…
Define what it means to have a mentality?
Mentality in general? A state of mind. Your perspective, I guess.
What exactly is your overall mentality as an MMA practitioner?
I view MMA as a lifestyle, not just a sport. MMA teaches values that are hard to learn elsewhere. For me, MMA keeps me focused and gives me clarity.
Finally how does your mentality help you to accomplishing your future goals?
MMA teaches the values of hard work and discipline, which are important in any field or in working towards any goal.
Any people or sponsors you want to thank?
I’d like to thank my sponsors Sportshouse, IBX, Vibram FiveFingers, Century Tuna, Jujubees, Ecko Unlimited, and my management – Titans Management. Big thank you to all my fans for your support and please catch my fight on 14 September.
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