ONE: Banario grateful to have Folayang on his side ahead of Khan fight
Honorio Banario has already proven that he can rise to the top of ONE Championship when he became the promotion’s first World featherweight champion in 2013.
Banario, though, has returned to the lightweight division—his weight class when he was still fighting in the Philippines—and will now fight Amir Khan on Sept. 8 in ONE: Beyond the Horizon in Shanghai China.
In a fight that will pit the Team Lakay figure against one of Evolve MMA’s finest, Banario has is thankful that a close friend and former lightweight champion is with him and helping him to prepare.
Former ONE World lightweight champion Eduard Folayang has been Banario’s training partner for much of his career and he feels thankful the Filipino MMA icon has been with him every step of the way.
“I am extremely honored to have Eduard as a mentor and as a brother,” said the 28-year-old Banario who’s six years younger than Folayang. “A huge part of my success, I owe to him.”
Banario once said that he’s not comfortable challenging his “kuya Eduard” to a fight but he is thankful that the man whom he treats as a mentor has helped him in every possible way.
“When I was at the lowest point in my career, he was one of the strongest voices that told me to keep going,” said Banario (13-6). “He motivated me and gave me hope, he’s like my older brother.”
Banario held his title for less than three months after he lost to Koji Oishi in May of 2013 and that loss began a string of defeats that lasted through October 2015 when he suffered a submission loss to Ev Ting.
Those losses, though, are behind Banario who has since mounted a five-fight winning streak.
“Eduard has faced the best lightweights in ONE Championship and he’s at the top of the stack,” said Banario. “He was the champion, he still is in my eyes. To be able to train with someone like that, it only makes me a better fighter.”
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