Over the past few months, reigning URCC Featherweight Champion and 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in combat sambo Mark Streigl has been linked to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
As early as February, many have said that the proud son of Baguio City is bound for the big league.
Wednesday evening, the 32-year-old shed light on the issue during an episode of The Hit List, presented by SMART Sports.
“First and foremost, honestly, I can’t say I’m there just yet.”
Currently, Striegl is in Las Vegas, Nevada — on a gamble to try his luck at getting a UFC fight.
“What happened is I was in Baguio during the quarantine, I was… Like a lot of people, I was getting some quarantine weight with my family. I was still training, of course, because it’s part of my lifestyle. So I’m working out every single day, put on a few pounds, and then I got a call from my coach, Coach [George] Castro. And Coach Castro told me that Ruby Sports Entertainment, a management company over here that I’m signed with and works with Coach Castro… They told me that if I can get to Las Vegas from the Philippines that there will be a very high chance that I get a UFC fight, especially during this COVID times,” he shared.
“Just a lot of opportunities for fighters that are based in Vegas.”
Striegl immediately headed to Vegas to train with Alliance MMA Gym while staying at a family member’s home.
Until now, he is hoping to hit the jackpot.
It’s been listed that Striegl will take on Timur Valiev (16-2) for a UFC Fight Night event at the Apex Center on August 22.
But according to Striegl, nothing has been set in stone yet.
“We’re waiting on an opponent and a date, but we’re in talks and should get one very soon. All that’s left is to sign the contract.”
If ever he indeed fights in the UFC, it will be one of the longest journeys for a Filipino fighter to the promotion.
Striegl started in Total Combat, then ProFC, URCC, Legend FC, and Malaysian Fighting Championship, before going to the PXC and ONE Championship. He would then come back to URCC to raise his slate to 18-2.
But even during the lowest of lows of his career, his UFC dream never died.
“To be honest, always at the back of my head, I thought that it was a possibility, especially these days [when] I’m at my prime right now.
“I’m 32 years old, and maybe 10 years to go, that would be an older fighter or in the norm for athletes. Some people would think that at 32 you have a few years left, but these days you got fighters that are fighting. Brandon Vera the ONE heavyweight champion is 40 or 41 now. So I’ve always trained smart and I’ve taken care of my body and treated my body like a temple, and I knew that there was always a possibility. And I always wanted to leave all doors open and have a long and healthy career,” he said.
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