Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is now ready to pave a path to his third reign as World Champion.
The Filipino hero, who is coming off a tough loss against old rival Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki at ONE: A NEW ERA in Japan last March, said that he is far from done in the sport. In fact, he looks to make one more run at the gold.
Just weeks away from marking his 12th year as a professional mixed martial artist, the 35-year-old Baguio City native is confident he still has what it takes to win the belt back.
“It’s just a matter of time. If we get that chance once again, why not? If I need a couple of more wins to reach that, of course, I’m open to it,” he said.
Folayang is no stranger to setbacks.
He climbed his way into World Title contention with big wins over Vincent Latoel and Kotetsu Boku, but he took a backward step after falling to Russian knockout artist Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE: WARRIOR’S WAY in Manila back in December 2014.
The Filipino star rebounded with four impressive victories, including his title-winning effort over Aoki at ONE: DEFENDING HONOR in Singapore back in November 2016. However, he lost his crown to Martin Nguyen at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD in Manila one year later.
After scoring a pair of back-to-back unanimous decision victories, Folayang recaptured the gold for the second time with a dominant win over Amir Khan at ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS in the Philippine capital last November.
"I think I’ve proven it time and time again. I lost before, then I was able to get back the ONE Lightweight World Title,” he recalled.
“I lost again only to climb the ladder once more and win it back. Whatever the opportunity that would come, I won’t miss it again.
“I always make my way back to title contention. Sometimes the opportunity comes for other athletes to get an immediate rematch, or stay within the top two contenders of the division. I feel like I’m still at that level.”
Now beaming with confidence and entirely healthy, Folayang hopes to appear on one of the upcoming cards so he can start his quest towards a third World Title reign.
He is not really asking for anyone right now, but if given the chance, he would like to face the newest ONE Lightweight World Champion, Christian “The Warrior” Lee.
“I’d love to test myself against the new champion,” the Filipino said. “He’s the ‘young lion.’ I want to face that young lion.”