Filipino-American fighter Mark Striegl is not looking far away when it comes to the Philippines’ competitiveness in combat sports.
Striegl, who grew up in the mountains of Baguio, lauded the famed Benguet-based stable Team Lakay for making a name in mixed martial arts globally.
When asked during Friday’s episode of T2 Fight Project podcast about the current level of MMA in the Philippines, Striegl confidently said Filipinos are “absolutely” excelling on the world stage.
“I think Team Lakay has already done a great example, showing that we are competitors on the world stage,” the UFC debutant said.
Team Lakay, under the helm of multi-titled coach Mark Sangiao, has produced top-caliber fighters throughout the years in Joshua Pacio, Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Geje Eustaquio among others.
The Igorot warriors continue to rise and shine in different combat sports promotions, mainly in ONE Championship and in Brave Combat Federation.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before, you know, we continue to show that,” the 32-year-old Striegl added. “I think we have excelled on the world stage, the global stage and I think we’re gonna continue to do so.”
The former URCC champion also lauded the Wrestling Association of the Philippines (WAP) and jiu-jitsu star Meggie Ochoa for raising the bar of combat sports in the Philippines.
While Filipinos are mostly known for etching history in boxing, with big names in Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, John Riel Casimero and Eumir Felix Marcial, Striegl believes that wrestling, jiu-jitsu and judo in the Philippines are still “progressing but not very far behind compared to other countries.”
“I mean, Filipinos — fighting is in our blood, it’s in our DNA,” said the 2019 Southeast Asian Games sambo gold medalist, citing medal hauls these athletes have produced during the biennial regional meet
During the 2019 SEAG here, WAP collected two golds, 10 silvers and one bronze; the jiu-jitsu national team grabbed five golds, three silvers and three bronze medals; and Filipino judokas bagged three golds, one silvers and nine bronze medals.
That said, Striegl, who faces his big test Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time) against Russian Said Nurmagomedov in UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, is excited for the future of combat sports of his fellow “kababayans”.
“We’re well long, man. I’m stoked for the future of combat sports in the Philippine,” he said.