He has always been proud to be a Filipino when he won. Now, he can show what the true Filipino is all about after a defeat.
After suffering the first loss of his professional mixed martial arts career, Mark Striegl vowed to “show the resilience of the Filipino” when he returns to the ring.
For the first time in 13 bouts, the Filipino-American mixed martial artist failed to do his customary raising of the Philippine flag after a victory as he bowed to Korea’s Jang Yong Kim in their Pacific X-Treme Combat featherweight championship bout in PXC 39 on Saturday at The Ynares Arena in Pasig.
“It means it’s back to the drawing board,” Striegl told a couple of waiting scribes in his dugout following the third-round submission loss that stunned the partisan crowd.
“You only get stronger from losses. It’s hard to stomach, but you have to take it. It’s not something that any fighter wants, but I guess I just have to work harder and just want to rebound.”
For a while, though, it seemed Striegl’s winning streak would continue after he had a strong start and a golden opportunity in the first round when he locked Jang, who improved to a 7-5-1 win-loss-draw record, with a rear-naked choke.
“I almost had him in the first round. I rocked him once and felt his body relent, but then he was able to gut it out.”
“He was just a lot physically stronger than I anticipated. He was a very tough competitor and the better man,” Striegl said, admitting that the unusual but effective leg chokes on his neck executed by Jang did him in.
“I felt very lightheaded after that. It took a lot out of my wind and energy,” said Striegl, who refused to blame the defeat on a long layoff that saw him sidelined for a few months due to a string of minor injuries.
“I’m not one to blame it to rust or anything like that,” said Striegl, who last fought in November last year when he forced compatriot Harris Sarmiento to submit in the first round of their PXC 34 fight.
“I promise to come back stronger…and a bit heavier,” Striegl hinted on his Facebook page a day later.
PXC CEO EJ Calvo admitted Striegl would have to wait a while longer to earn another title shot, but nevertheless believes the future remained bright.
“Mark is a great fighter and he’s gonna have more great opportunities,” he said.
“Falling short will make him even hungrier and sometimes when you look at an athlete’s career, that first loss is what drives them to be even greater.”