Mark “Mugen” Striegl, 32, of the Philippines realized his dream of signing with the Ultimate Fighting Championship amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Amid strict travel restrictions, the Filipino-American mixed martial artist traveled from Baguio City, Philippines to Las Vegas, Nevada, United States to pursue that dream.
“After experiencing travelling from Baguio to Las Vegas amid the pandemic, what is your message to the Philippine government?” I asked Striegl. He simply replied, “I just pray that things become more organized during this chaotic time.”
Since 2011, Striegl has been living in Baguio City. He regularly travels to Metro Manila, Philippines for fights, training and other commitments.
On July 4, 2020, Striegl received a call from his head coach George Castro. The Baguio City-based MMA fighter’s management Ruby Sports and Entertainment said if he could make it to Las Vegas, there would be a high chance he could get a fight in the UFC, according to his coach.
On August 22, 2020, Striegl will make his UFC debut at “UFC on ESPN 15,” also known as “UFC Vegas 7,” at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. He will fight his fellow promotional debutante Timur “The Lucky” Valiev, 30, of Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia in the bantamweight division.
“Who are the people you want to thank for helping you prepare for your upcoming UFC fight with Valiev?” I asked Striegl. He replied, “I’d like to thank Ruby Sports and my coach George Castro for making this happen also the guys over here at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas with Coach John Wood.”
After a week of training in Baguio City, Striegl traveled to Metro Manila, Philippines, where he spent another week of training while finalizing all of his travel preparations. On July 29, 2020, he finally left Metro Manila and flew to Las Vegas.
On August 14, 2020, Striegl was officially signed with the UFC. At “UFC on ESPN 15,” his bantamweight bout with Valiev will be the first bout of the evening.
Currently, Striegl holds a professional MMA record of 18 wins, 2 losses, 0 draw and 1 No Contest while Valiev has 14 wins and 2 losses. The Baguio City resident he made his professional MMA debut on July 25, 2009 at “Total Combat 34” at the Star Light Bowl at Balboa Park in San Diego where he submitted Andy “Hurricane” Jewett of the U.S. via rear-naked choke.
Held in Baguio City on February 19, 2011, “URCC Baguio 3: Invasion” marked Striegl’s first MMA bout in the Philippines. He submitted Team Lakay fighter Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge, 32, of the Philippines via rear-naked choke.
Representing the Philippines, Striegl won the gold medal in sambo in the -74kg division at the Southeast Asian Games 2019 on December 5, 2019. He competed in ONE Championship from 2015 to 2016 and in the Universal Reality Combat Championship, which has been renamed as URCC Global, from 2017 to 2019.