A CANDID CHAT WITH MARK “MUGEN” STRIEGL

Mark Striegl, of social media-blistering Team Buffet, is as colorful in day-to-day life as he is inside the ring. With model-like good looks and a willingness to show off his abs at after parties, he’s become a definite ladies’ favorite across all of Asia, but it’s his fresh and unbeaten record of some hot prospect opponents that is what deserves being noticed.

Mark “Mugen” Striegl started martial arts while he was growing up in Japan. As a protege of the famous Wajutsu Keishukai GODS gym, he’s developed a great foundation and good contacts to get him started in his career. However, he’s never fought in Japan, and even though he’s drifted from promotion to promotion, he’s gotten matched up against some pretty sizable opponents. He stopped top Korean Featherweight prospect Bae Yong Kwon‘s winning streak by decision. Mark also has a decision win over now Legend FC Bantamweight Champion Yusuke Kawanago. And he made it back to his ethnic heritage home of the Philippines with a second recent appearance in the URCC to defeat Alcer Lozada in the first round.

Now Mark has finally found what could be a new home in the Pacific Xtreme Fighting organization based in Guam and holding shows in the Philippines, as he’s been signed to fight on the next card in Manila on September 1st. With the fight against Guam’s Robert Wusstig, comes a shot at several more in the promotion, possibly leading up to a title, something that’s been elusive to Mark up until now. On the lead up to his fight, we caught up with him to see how training is going, and what it’s been like along his career through MMA in Asia.

Where are you holding your training camp?

Baguio!! Good old Baguio. Raining hard, but no flooding.  At my friend’s gym, FightCorps.

So who are you training with to get prepared?

With some URCC guys and my friends who are all grapplers.

How well do you know your opponent?

Not very well – not much footage on him. I just know that he’s the Trench Warz (Saipan) champion and that he’s been on a tear at 145 since dropping, a 2-fight win streak.

Since he dropped a weight class, do you think he’ll be one of the bigger fighters you’ve faced?

I think so. I know he’s a little taller than me at 5’9 or 5’10, so he should have some reach on me too.

Does that influence your mind set, or your training regimen?

Not in particular. I try to be as big and strong for every fight I enter no matter the weight class.

And since you love food, the weight cut’s tough!

Absolutely! The weigh cut/management is the hardest part for me. I’m not a huge featherweight but I do love my food so cutting back is a bit of a challenge.

What’s the thing you most hate to skip?

Ice cream and fast food. Hands down. I’ve been eating a lot of Schwarmas lately. So I need to cut back on those glorious wraps.

I have to say, since i’ve started taking an interest in your career, I’ve been pleased to see your development as a fighter and your improving skill set each time you come out. Tell me, how do you see yourself as a pro mma fighter?

Thank you. I like to see myself as an exciting fighter that always brings it. I’m not a counter-fighter. I always come forward and try to make it a “dogfight.” [laughs] Just an expression.

You’ve got one fight that went to decision – Yusuke Kawanago, who’s now the champion at Legend FC. That fight looked like it could have gone either way, with a lot of folks saying the grappling-biased judges were the reason for your win. Can you reflect on that fight for a moment?

Actually I have one other decision against Bae Yong Kwon who is another tough fighter.

Right, he’s a beast.

The Kawanago fight was probably my closest fight. I entered that fight with a torn ACL and in hindsight I should have pulled out but it was a huge opportunity. In my opinion I won the first 2 rounds and he won the last one. I had a bunch of near submission attempts and takedowns in the first 2 rounds.

Did you come in with a game plan? Do you normally train to your opponents?

My game plan was definitely to submit him since I was not very mobile on my feet with my knee, but as far as game plans go, I dont really enter fights with a specific game plan in mind.

Do you have a favorite way of fighting? That sounds corny, like Diablo or something. What do you think is your ‘style’?

[laughs] Just a little. My style is an all out and aggressive one. I like to put a lot of pressure on my opponents and set a frantic rhythm.

So you have to really deal with your cardio on a regular basis then?

You’re right. It is a cardio-intensive style so it’s important to always be in good shape year round.

What is your training like for that?

Well being based in Baguio at high elevation certainly helps. Where I live it’s 5000 ft above sea level so even just sleeping or walking around is like a workout! [laughs]

How many girlfriends you got there?

[laughs] Just one. Well if you count my fridge and freezer, then three.

Aside from Kawanago, I know there was another fight proposed with another promotion’s champion. Can you talk about that?

Yeah, Kang Kyung Ho, I was offered to fight him for the title at the end of the year. I was still considering it though because it would have been my first fight at 135 pounds.

I guess you won’t get the chance now.

Yeah I heard he got signed by the UFC and will be competing on the Macau card. C’est la vie!

Too bad, it would have been a crowd-pleaser. For the ladies.

[laughs]

You are about at the time to take a step up in your career. Can you think of some guys you’d like to fight?

Right now all my focus is on my next opponent Robert Wusstig and the PXC 145 lb belt! Bob Sapp would be a fun fight though.

Tap Sapp! Do you think it would open you up to some promotions in the west?

I think so. Winning a title or belt is a big deal.

You grew up in Japan, right?

That’s correct. I was born in Tokyo grew up there. Don’t ask me if I drift.

So do you think you might have a part of your career in MMA back there again one day?

You know it’s funny. I’ve had ten professional fights and not one has been in Tokyo which is one of the Mecca’s of MMA. I’d like to fight there some day because so much MMA history was made there with Pride FC and a lot of my friends are there as well.

How about your coach? Why did you train with Yuji at GODS and not anywhere else? And did his fighting style have any influence on yours?

My coach Yuji “The Beast” Hoshino definitely had a big influence on me. GODS was the first gym I stepped into when I started MMA and me and Yuji immediately hit it off. He’s a great guy and I really owe a lot to him. As far as our styles go, they are a little similar. Hoshino-san came from a wrestling background like me and he has a very heavy grappling oriented attack like mine.

His only loss in like eight years was to Marlon Sandro.

Yeah he was on a streak for quite some time. I believe Marlon was ranked #2 in the world at the time right under Jose Aldo.

Even when Yuji announced his ‘retirement’ he was still like #23 in the world or something.

That sounds about right. Actually he just came off a big win in Shooto against Akitoshi Tamura so I’m not sure about his retirement plans.

Yeah, i’m glad he came back. So how many fights do you expect it will take before you get a shot at the PXC belt?

I think it depends on how well I fight. I expect one more fight after Robert then maybe a title shot. But like I said, I don’t like to look to far ahead.

Well it’s good to see you taking a run with one promotion for a change.

Yeah, I’m excited to be signed with PXC and to be fighting in Manila in the Motherland!

Put on a great show and keep that unbeaten streak going!

Thank you!

Check out and follow Mark Striegl’s Athlete page on Facebook for his latest updates, and follow the culinary antics of Team Buffet on their grand tours around Asia’s food establishments.

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