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The first time he met UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva
“I was really good friends with Antonio Noguiera. I helped Noguiera with his wrestling for a long time. Then he introduced me to his manager, and his manager introduced me to Anderson. They said Anderson wants to work out with me so I said, ‘Are you serious? I’m coming!’ So I drove to Blackhouse Gym in L.A. and Anderson was there and said they want to do some Muay Thai workout. So he did some pad workout with me, showing me amazing stuff with knees, elbows, kicks, and footwork. He taught me all that.”
His Bruce Lee moment with Silva
”After he put me through that entire workout, he took off his pads, kneeled down in front of me, and told me to sit down. 'Mark, when you fight, no fight. Fight is angry, no good. When you fight, you play. Play, no problem. You see, you play, no problem,' he said in his broken English. Just by him saying that I thought that was a Bruce Lee moment. When you go in there angry, when you’re all emotional, you don’t see anything. I understood what he said because you shouldn’t think; you just let your body take control. I was star struck after that, but now they’re my friends.”
The best advice he’s ever gotten from a fellow fighter
”It’s from Brandon Vera. He’s like a kuya to me in the sport. He speaks better Tagalog than me and I’m the one who is fully Filipino! He told me that it doesn’t matter how much I lose, it matters how many times I pick myself back up. That’s huge. He vouched for me and said, 'Mark is gonna be something in the sport,' when I was nothing. He’s a brother to me. I love him. He brought me in and took care of my family when I didn’t have very much, and I’m gonna do the same thing for him.”
On cornering PXC fighter Raja Shippen in his latest fight
"You know Raja, he has to take those fights in order to grow. I keep telling everybody in my gym if they don’t accept tough fights then they’re only going to be mediocre. If they offer it to you, get them and train accordingly. Train the way you’re supposed to be training. Raja has been changing up his training ever since he met me. He’s known me for just a little over a year now, and he’s developed into becoming a very good fighter. He was managed very poorly in the beginning, but he’s getting proper training now and he’s gonna do really well."
What he thinks of UFC President Dana White
“He’s a businessman. He took the UFC and he improved it from the day he bought it with the Fertittas for a million dollars. Now it’s a multi-billion dollar company. He’s got vision. He’s a visionary.”
On being friends with Octagon girl Arianny Celeste, who is part-Filipina
”She doesn’t understand Tagalog, but I talk to her all the time. I have a picture of her on my phone, ha-ha! We hang out a lot because I go to see UFC events all the time. We hang out in hotel lobbies after fights. She’s a very good person, very nice, and very pretty too.”
His take on Asian sensation Jeremy Lin
"Oh my gosh, he’s amazing! He’s one of the top success stories within the last five years. From getting cut from two teams, sleeping in somebody’s couch, to being who he is now? It’s an amazing testament of perseverance, desire, determination, and commitment, all of those things that helps you become a champion. It’s truly a success story and a very inspiring one too."