MARK STRIEGL TELLS JAMES GOYDER WHY ONE: VALOR OF CHAMPIONS WILL BE THE SINGLE MOST SIGNIFICANT MOMENT OF HIS CAREER TO DATE.
Mark Striegl is just 26 years old but has already had a remarkable career winning fights in no fewer than eight different countries and defeating some of the best featherweights in the region while competing for multiple promotions.
He is the owner of an outstanding 13-1 record but for Striegl the moment has finally arrived to make the leap from being a top contender to establishing himself as one of the best fighters at his weight in the world by winning a title with one of the most prominent MMA promotions in the world.
To prepare himself for this challenge he has dropped down a division to 135 lbs, become a full time member of the Evolve MMA fight team in Singapore and signed with Asia’s biggest MMA promotion ONE Championship.
On April 24th he faces undefeated bantamweight Casey Suire in the co main event of ONE: ‘Valor of Champions’ and Striegl says it will be the single most significant moment of his career to date.
“ONE Championship is the king of Asian MMA and this will be the largest show that I’ve ever fought on. Also I haven’t fought in Manila in over two years now so this fight is very important to me and I can’t wait to fight in front of my home crowd.”
I’VE BEGAN COMPILING A LIST OF ALL THE DELICIOUS THINGS I’M GOING TO EAT POST-FIGHT IN MANILA. SO FAR THE LIST IS QUITE LONG.
The match is set for the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on April 24th and it will be Striegl’s second fight at 135 lbs after submitting seasoned bantamweight Kai Kawhare France in the first round at last season’s MIMMA Finale. Having spent his entire career fighting in higher divisions he says that the drop down involves making a few sacrifices.
“Right now we’re training hard twice a day at Evolve MMA as per usual. I’m focusing on my weight cut and trying hard to avoid junk food but I’ve began compiling a list of all the delicious things I’m going to eat post-fight in Manila. So far the list is quite long.”
This is Striegl’s first training camp since he joined Evolve MMA earlier this year and his team mates Amir Khan and Ben Askren will both be on the Manila card. Shinya Aoki is also in Singapore to prepare for a title match the following month and the Filipino says he has been soaking up the knowledge.
“It’s been fantastic. Any time you get to work and learn from some of the very best in the world is an amazing opportunity. The thing about Ben and Shinya is that they’re very kind and are happy to share their knowledge and skills.”
He’s also had a chance to work with one of the best southpaw mixed martial artists in the game and Striegl, who fights with his right foot forwards, says he has been picking up some tips from recently crowned UFC 155 lbs champion Rafael Dos Anjos.
“He showed us some of his favorite techniques and I personally found it very helpful as he’s also a southpaw fighter like me. I’ve also been working with the Muay Thai world champions and the BJJ black belts and Heath Sims and Ben Askren have helped me to tune up my wrestling.”
Suire is currently 5-0 and has two submission wins for ONE Championship so Striegl will want to make an immediate impression by taking out an opponent who is already well established in the bantamweight division. It will be his first fight since moving to Singapore at the start of the year and he says he is looking forwards to being back in the Philippines.
“Singapore’s great but I definitely miss the Philippines. I’m planning on sticking around to watch ONE Championship shareholder Manny Pacquiao fight the next week and I’ve got big plans for the after party. Stay tuned for the details but the first rounds on me.”
ONE: Valor of Champions is set for the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on 24 April and the entire event can be purchased for US$9.99 here.