Mark Eddiva hopes his sacrifices outside the mixed martial arts cage continue to pay off when he steps into the Ultimate Fighting Championship octagon once again next month.
Eddiva, who left school and gave up his national wushu team career to sign a multiple-fight contract with the world’s biggest MMA organization, returns to the cage to face Kevin Souza of Brazil in Sao Paulo in another UFC: Fight Night card on May 31.
The 28-year-old Baguio native, the second homegrown Filipino UFC campaigner, made a rousing pro debut last month when he outclassed Jumabieke Tuerxun of China in the opponent’s turf also in Macau.
“It’s very rewarding kasi talang dinedicate ko talaga yung time ko for training and nag-sacrifice ako na i-drop ko yung subjects ko,” Eddiva said.
Before his first UFC fight, he had a three-year layoff from MMA competition to focus on his collegiate studies, being a graduating education student at University of the Cordilleras.
Eddiva was also part of the national team, where he was also quite successful, having produced an Asian Games bronze medal and a gold in the Southeast Asian Games.
But it seems MMA is his greater calling and he decided to make a change.
“Every day my life is changing,” the promising featherweight prospect said. “New experience, new steps na naman na nagawa in the field of MMA. Maganda ang pakiramdam at nagigigng productive na naman ako sa pag-MMA ko.”
Now, the 5-foot-8 Eddiva tries to remain unbeaten in his seventh pro fight as he takes on a veteran in Souza, who sports a 14-3 win-loss record, but is on an eight-fight winning streak of his own.
“Pagpreparahan ulit,” the Team Lakay product said.