May 23, 2024

Former ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang of the famed Team Lakay is in a peculiar position. For the first time in his storied career, Folayang has dropped three times in a row, and is in danger of extending that awful run in the face of a legitimate threat in his next fight.
The 37-year-old Folayang is currently preparing to welcome Zhang Lipeng in the main event of ONE: Battleground II, a tape delayed event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore, which will be aired Aug. 13.
Following three consecutive losses, many fans and observers have called on Folayang to retire from mixed martial arts and consider becoming a coach. But Folayang wants to prove doubters wrong.
“As a martial artist, I want to unleash my full potential because I know I haven’t yet,” Folayang said.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned during this stretch is to persevere. I needed to understand that the best comes to those who don’t give up on their dreams. I believe in myself. I believe in what I can do, and I wouldn’t be here now if I didn’t,” he added.
Against Zhang, Folayang faces the former The Ultimate Fighter: China winner and a grizzled veteran with just as much big-fight experience as he has. His opponent is also a Kunlun Fight MMA champion and has been in the game as long as Folayang.
Despite calls for him to hang up the gloves for good, Folayang believes he is a much better fighter now than he was a year ago.
“I think every experience I’ve been through over the past few years has really helped me to evolve as a fighter. I’ve been through a lot of adversity, and it has molded me into a more capable martial artist, and a better person,” Folayang said.
In the co-main event of ONE: Battleground II, former ONE strawweight world champion and current top five-ranked strawweight contender Alex “Silva takes on China’s Miao Li Tao. – Harley F. Palangchao