ONE: Embracing challenge, Folayang fights legendary foe in own game
MANILA, Philippines—Eduard Folayang is on the worst run of his otherwise illustrious career having lost six of his last seven fights, and he’s hoping that his next match could turn his fortunes around albeit in a different discipline.
The two-time ONE lightweight champion is taking on legendary striker John Wayne Parr under the Australian’s Muay Thai discipline at ONE:X at Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 26.
Folayang, 38, said fighting under Parr’s own discipline is a challenge for him and going into Muay Thai’s system is a challenge all in itself.
“What motivates me is the challenge of being a martial artist and that’s what we want, because it challenges me more as a fighter,” said Folayang Saturday at Novotel Manila.
“We have to determine the areas we need to improve upon and of course, I have to identify them as I’ve already been fighting for a decade.”
Folayang, who holds a 22-12 MMA record, was originally a kickboxer before transitioning to his native discipline of wushu.
It was in wushu that Folayang first established himself as a Philippine national team staple, winning three Southeast Asian Games gold medals, a bronze and silver in the Asian Games, and another bronze in the World Championships.
Parr, meanwhile, will have his retirement fight and it’s a situation Folayang relishes to be in.
Folayang is aware of the magnitude his fight has and he wouldn’t have it any other way as his opponent held the 2010 WKA Muay Thai World middleweight and 2000 K-1 ISKA Muay Thai World titles.
“I’ll fight him in his territory, that’s where you’ll see the adjustments I made,” said Folayang. “There’s excitement for sure because striking has always been my bread and butter because that’s how I started with the Philippine national team, strictly on striking.”
“For me, fighting a legend before he retires is one of those opportunities you can’t pass up. It’s a privilege for me to be in this situation because JW already won titles in several Muay Thai divisions.”