Famous Fil-Am fighters already in the UFC include Mark Munoz and Brandon Vera and 14-0 featherweight contender Mark Striegl is on course to follow in their footsteps. But before that, he has the opportunity to win the first title of his career at Pacific X-treme Combat (PXC) 39.
On September 24th in Manila, he will go up against Jang Yong Kim (6-5-1) with the vacant PXC 145-pound belt on the line. The Korean might not have the most impressive record, but Striegl is expecting a tough fight.
"I've watched some footage of Kim and I think he's a very dangerous opponent. He has KO power in both hands and great wrestling and grappling as well, I expect a war with him."
Striegl has also recorded wins with Legend FC, Dare and URCC and has long been linked with a UFC contract but at 25 years old, time is on his side and although his ambition is to eventually test himself inside the Octagon, he says he is in no rush.
"My goal is definitely to be in the UFC, but I don't have a specific timescale in mind. Right now, I'm focused on my upcoming bout in PXC."
PXC has a policy of encouraging its fighters to sign for the UFC and Striegl would be following in the footsteps of Jon Tuck, Dustin Kimura and Hyun Gyu Lim. While the 145-pound belt, which will be on the line on September 24th, is only vacant because Joe Taimanglo left the Guam-based promotion in order to sign with Bellator,
Striegl was born in Japan to a Filipino mother and American father and is currently based in Baguio. He wrestled in college in the U.S., but it wasn't until he was back home in Tokyo that he decided to try and apply that experience to MMA.
"I decided to take the plunge after high school as it seemed like the next natural step after wrestling. I checked out a Wajutsu Keishukai MMA gym that happened to be near my house in Tokyo and after the first practice I was hooked."
Coming from a wrestling background gives Striegl a slightly different skill set from most fighters in Asia where the sport is not as popular or predominant as it is in the U.S, but he feels this has only been one one of a few factors behind him compiling such a formidable record.
"I think that it gives me an advantage with the initial takedown but that's about it. Once we get to the ground, wrestling certainly helps, but it's just grappling at that point and everyone can grapple."
With 10 of his 12 wins coming by way of submission, Striegl can clearly grapple better than the majority of his opponents and his last two wins have both come with a finish, which is something of a specialty, as he explains.
"It is an Americana done with the legs, but the official name is Scarf Hold Necktie. I like to call it the 'Fil-Americana' since I'm Fil-Am, I learned it a few years back on Youtube!"
He had initially been scheduled to face Shooto champion Yusuke Yachi in the opening round of a four-man tournament to crown the new PXC featherweight champion, but when that fight fell through, Striegl was granted an immediate shot against Kim, who won his semifinal bout.
It will be his first fight in 10 months but in the meantime, Striegl has been busy with a documentary about his life entitled "MUGEN: Life of a Fighter," which he tells us about.
"My close friend from high school Dais Kasagawa is a filmmaker in New York. He reached out to me one day and starting telling me about this idea of putting together a documentary centered on my PXC title match. I thought the idea was awesome and we went from there. It's been a fun ride and great experience and I look forward to the finished product!'
Anyone interested in the MUGEN: Life of a Fighter documentary can check out a trailer here.
Mark Striegl would also like to add the following message: