Becoming champion again remains Folayang’s goal
MANILA, Philippines—It has been a turbulent run for Eduard Folayang since he lost his ONE World lightweight title to rival Shinya Aoki back in March 2019.
After two reigns atop the division from 2016 to 2018, Folayang struggled to regain that once-dominant run and dropped three of his last four fights including the oss to Aoki in Japan, where he was put to sleep via arm triangle choke.
Folayang, however, still has that champion’s mindset with the always the goal of taking back what was once his.
“To become the champion again? Of course. What’s the purpose of everything that we’ve done if we’re not dreaming to get the title again, or we’re not focused to be on that level once more,” said Folayang in Filipino via Zoom.
Folayang became the face of MMA in the country, starting when he shredded Aoki in 2016 and followed it up with a successful defense against Ev Ting in April of 2017 via unanimous decision.
Though he lost to Martin Nguyen a year after he won the belt, he ultimately regained it after a dominant unanimous decision win over Amir khan in November of 2018.
Folayang (22-9) said his losses have been valuable lessons to him, especially the one against former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
The Team Lakay senior nearly had Eddie Alvarez out with a barrage of strikes but the Underground King found an opening to submit Folayang via rear naked choke.
“I was assessing my performance that time and in a blink of an eye, just one wrong move, he was able to capitalize on it,” said Folayang. “I was already putting on a good performance and just one mistake it all fell apart.”
“I always say that in MMA you have to be really focused and at that time during the Alvarez fight I rushed and I wanted to end it quickly that I momentarily forgot about what was happening. In MMA it’s not just about striking and those were huge lessons for me.”
Folayang is set to return to action after eight months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world as he is part of the ONE: Inside the Matrix where he will face Antonio Caruso of Australia.
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