Mark Striegl’s journey to the UFC has been a rollercoaster.

In August, he traveled from his home in Baguio City, Philippines to Las Vegas to make his long-awaited UFC debut. Little did he know that he would have to continue waiting for that moment, as he was diagnosed with COVID-19 during fight week and his bout was cancelled.

It wasn’t an easy moment for Striegl (18-2, 1 NC) but the 32-year-old Filipino wasn’t deterred from his dreams one bit.

“It’s a rollercoaster, I mean MMA is a rollercoaster in general, especially during these COVID times,” Striegl told UFC.com. “Coming from Baguio City to Manila to Las Vegas, getting COVID when I thought that was the last thing that would happen, then getting rescheduled and rebooked onto Fight Island and then finally being here, it’s been an absolute adventure but all part of the journey and I’m just super excited about it.”

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One of the things that excites Striegl the most about his opportunity to face Said Nurmagomedov on the UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs The Korean Zombie card this weekend is the chance to put on for his country.

“MMA and combat sports are huge in the Philippines. Filipinos love fight sports. I mean, look at Manny Pacquiao. The people love boxing, and MMA is no different,” Striegl said. “It’s an absolute honor to represent the Philippines on the global stage here in the UFC. This is the Super Bowl of MMA, this is the largest platform for mixed martial arts. To represent the Philippines here in the UFC and on Fight Island during these crazy COVID times it’s a complete honor.”

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