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Jul 27, 2017
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With three weeks to go before his return to the URCC cage, Mark 'Mugen' Striegl is hard at work in the gym. At a recent training sessions, we caught him breathing heavily and drenched in sweat as he completed his 50th consecutive burpee. This came after running over two kilometers and doing over 200 repetitions in bodyweight exercises—all in under 25 minutes.

The 29-year-old pro MMA fighter certainly doesn't hold back, in life or in training. And it's all because of a mentality he's honed since his younger years.

"My motto is: Go big or go home," he says. "There's only one way to do things and that's all out. When you decide on something, I believe that you have to see it through, finish what you started."

With that, Striegl has gone all out, dedicating his life to being a professional MMA fighter. Mugen has big plans for his MMA career, but he actually started with very simple goals.

"I got into mixed martial arts because of my old brother Frank, who's four years older than me," says Streigl. "When you're a younger brother, you kinda copy what your older brother does just because you think it looks cool. I took up all the martial arts and sports that he did, I just took it one step further and made a career out of it."

Mark and his brother Frank grew up in Tokyo, Japan, where their parents (their mother from Mindoro and father from New York) taught at an International School. Japan, known by many as mecca of several martial arts, served as the perfect breeding ground for Striegl's MMA aspirations, much in thanks to a certain local MMA promotion making waves around the world.

"Pride Fighting Championships, at the time, was the biggest promotion in the world," said Striegl. "It was bigger than UFC at the time. Pride FC was Japan's local show and seeing the fighters on TV and going out and seeing them on the street, that had an effect on me, and it made me want to compete in mixed martial arts and ultimately, get to where they are."

Pride FC, which brought to fame fighters like Wanderlei Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and Fedor Emelianenko, left such a strong impression on Striegl that he knew that one day, he’d be like those warriors he saw on screen.

Since then, Striegl has parlayed a sport addiction into a full-blown career, and there’s no stopping him now. He’s 15-2 as a professional and has fought around the globe. His submission wrestling base, paired with his superb conditioning and evolving striking, make him one of the most promising athletes in the Filipino MMA scene. And with his "go big or go home" mentality, Mugen has got his sights set on gold.

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"I want to go for the URCC titles and make it to the UFC," he said. "That's always been my goal: To represent the Philippines and fight in the UFC."

Striegl is zeroed in on being a champion and making it big, but at the end of the day, MMA simply feeds his fixation to put everything on the line.

"I'm an adrenaline junkie," he admits. "I've skydived and bungee jumped before, but nothing gets my heart racing, nothing gets me more excited than a mixed martial arts fight, than entering the cage. I enjoy the thrill and rush of mixed martial arts. I can't sing, I can't dance, so I fight."


Mark Striegl will take on former URCC champion Andrew Benibe at URCC 30 on August 12, 2017 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

 

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