By: Justin Valencia
Mark Eddiva was one of the few Filipino fighters to ever grace the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) octagon.
In his three-year stint with the largest MMA promotion in the world, he amassed a 1-3 win-loss record, winning via unanimous decision against Jumabieke Tuerxun in his debut fight in the Octagon on March 1, 2014.
But before his big jump to UFC, Eddiva was a champion in wushu. He bagged two golds in the 2009 and 2011 Southeast Asian Games, and bronzes in the 2010 Asian Games and 2011 World Championships.
Speaking to Tiebreaker Vods’ The Hit List, presented by SMART Sports, Eddiva discussed the pros and cons of his decision to sign with UFC and what he could have changed.
“Pa-graduate rin ako noon ng college, so iniisip ko rin kung mag-UFC talaga ako, kaso talagang automatically aalis ako ng Wushu National Team. So malaking dilemma sa akin ‘yung pagtawag ng UFC,” Eddiva shared during the podcast hosted by Nissi Icasiano and CA Starridge.
But with the once-in-a-lifetime offer, the 5-foot-8 featherweight fighter grabbed the chance, on the advice of pal Eduard Folayang and coach Mark Sangiao.
However, since his last fight was on January 27, 2011 — a victory against Alex Lee in the Legend Fighting Championship — Eddiva had difficulty adjusting to the level of competition in UFC.
“Dati kasi matagal akong walang laban sa cage, kaya medyo nahirapan din talaga ako. ‘Yung transition ko from amateur to professional MMA napaka-short, parang kulang talaga,” he said.
“That time nafi-feel ko noong nagte-training ako for UFC na parang buhat-buhat ko ang mundo eh. Ganon kabigat ‘yung training ko noon.”
Looking back now, had he ever fought continuously before making the transition to the UFC, the now-34 year old Eddiva has no doubt he would have made waves and splashes there.
“Ngayon ‘pag naiisip ko, pare-parehas lang ‘yung skills talaga. ‘Yung mindset at training lang talaga nag-iiba.”
Even with his short-lived UFC career of just four fights in three years, Eddiva stands proud as he knows he made a change in the Philippine MMA scene.
“‘Yun ‘yung kagandahan din eh, parang kami ‘yung nag-lay ng foundation sa youth. Okay din na parang kami ‘yung nag-umpisa ng daan.”