Mark “Mugen” Striegl, recently named one of the hottest prospects in Asian MMA and ONE Championship bantamweight standout, will again grace the circled cage when the promotion returns to the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Friday, December 2, 2016 for ONE: Age of Domination.
Streigl, 28, with a record of 14-2, is set to face Brazil’s Rafael Nunes, with 10 wins against a single loss. It will be Striegl’s third fight in the ONE Championship since joining the promotion in 2015.
To prepare for this fight, the Filipino-American stalwart splits his training between Evolve MMA in Singapore and the high-altitudes of Baguio City.
“Baguio is one of the best places to train in the Philippines because its high altitude. It’s 5,000-feet above sea level. It’s great for strength and conditioning,” said Striegl. “Manny Pacquiao also trained in Baguio in the past for some of his biggest fights. It’s been fantastic for my training.” he continued.
Striegl made his ONE Championship debut in April of 2015, defeating American Casey Suire impressively by first round submission. He, however, he fell to Filipino-Australian prospect Reece McLaren in his second bout a few months later.
Since his last bout, Striegl has been working hard in preparing for his return, training with none other than ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to train with Brandon Vera and AJ Matthews in Manila. Mark Munoz also came one time so I got to pick his brain a bit. I’ve just been jumping around and training with Brandon and it’s been great. There are a lot of gyms all around and so many good places to train and so many good people to work with.” he narrated.
A well-rounded mixed martial artist with strengths in both striking and grappling, Striegl is one of the country’s top combat sports athletes. He began his career by entering Total Combat 24 in San Diego, California then competing for various MMA promotions across Asia before landing a roster spot in ONE Championship last year.
As someone who has seen the rise of MMA as a sport in Asia, Striegl can’t help but feel in awe of the tremendous growth of combat sports in the region and credits a majority of it to the eight-division world boxing champion Pacquiao.
“MMA is getting really big in this country, thanks to ONE Championship. There’s a deeply embedded combat culture in this country with boxing.” said Streigl. “One of the greatest fighters of all time, Pacquiao, is a legend here and pretty much all over the world. He has put the Philippines on the map as far as fight sports are concerned. He’s a true global icon and one of my inspirations.”
During his time in Manila, Striegl says he just recently met Pacquiao for the first time in person. Pacquiao, full-time politician who owns a seat in the Philippine senate, was training for his highly-anticipated return to boxing against WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, which he won last November 5.
“I went to one of [Pacquiao’s] senate hearings and met him afterwards,” said Striegl. “[He’s a] super nice guy, super down to earth guy. Just a humble, nice guy and I think that’s why he has so many fans. He’s the people’s champ. Everyone can relate to him.” he continued.
Pacquiao’s unique style, Striegl says, is something he tries to emulate in the MMA cage. And just like Pacquiao, Striegl aims to bring a world title back to the Philippines.
Striegl sees the opportunity to get back on the right track in his pursuit of ONE Championship gold against Nunes. It won’t be easy Striegl says but by channeling his inner “Pac-Man”, he hopes to be able to make his people proud by becoming a world champion.
“One thing I love about Manny’s fight style is that he’s an action-packed fighter. He just keeps going and going and moving forward. That’s something I try to do in my fights,” said Striegl.
“You’ll never see me in a boring fight. I always press the action, I always come forward. I’m not a point fighter. Sometimes I put myself at risk by doing that but it’s better than being a point fighter, like a Floyd Mayweather-style kind of fighter.
“My goal when I entered this sport was and is to win a world championship title for the Philippines and bring it back here to Manila. That’s what I think about and it’s been my goal since I was young.” he said.