THE road to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) may have been derailed, but the destination could still be the same for Mark Striegl.
Despite Striegl suffering the first loss of his professional mixed martial arts career against Korean Jang Yong Kim, Pacific X-Treme Combat CEO EJ Calvo believes the prospects of the Filipino-American fighter reaching the world’s biggest MMA stage remains great.
“It’s obviously a setback,” Calvo said, referring to Striegl’s submission loss to Kim in their featherweight title bout in PXC 39 last Saturday. “Coming off a win would be the best opportunity with the UFC looking focused on Asia.”
“But I don’t think he needs to worry about it,” the PXC boss was quick to add. “I still think Mark is the top prospect in the Philippines to fight against the best in the world.”
If and when he does realize his UFC dreams, the 25-year-old Striegl would become the first local-based Filipino to do so. Mark Muñoz and Brandon Vera are the first Filipinos to represent the country there, but they honed their skills in the US, where both of them are likewise based.
Calvo said Striegl is still under contract with PXC “for at least another year.” But he would readily release his fighter in case the UFC knocks on the door.
“We expect to see him again and as long he’s healthy and UFC doesn’t make him an offer to move up, which we’d gladly (accept), we’d like to see him active in 2014 for another three to four fights.”
One of Asia-Pacific’s top MMA outfits based in Guam, the PXC has already produced two fighters in Jon Tuck and Lim Hyun Gyu who have made it to the UFC.
The PXC is set to return in the country on November 9 when flyweight champion and pride of Davao Ale Cali makes his comeback and defends his crown, most probably against Louis Smolka, who beat Filipino Jessie Rafols via submission in the undercard of Saturday’s offering.
Before that, the PXC will be in Guam on October 25 when Japanese Michinori Tanaka stakes his bantamweight belt.
“We’re going month to month now to keep our fighters active and keep the fans happy,” Calvo said. “We’re also exploring new markets to expand. That would almost make PXC monthly.”