April 16, 2024

Former two-time ONE lightweight world champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is one of the most explosively talented mixed martial artists in the world. But before he stepped foot inside the ONE circle, Folayang excelled in a much different arena.

He guided the nation’s youth as a high school teacher.

On the occasion of the National Teacher’s Day on Oct. 5, Folayang recalled his time as a teacher, and how it gave him a sense of achievement whenever he sees his students doing well.

“When you touch the lives of your students, even in the simplest ways – that was the most fulfilling for me back when I was still teaching. It’s such an honorable profession, even if it’s not easy by any means. Being a teacher is hard, but we still do it with a passion because we want our kids to succeed,” Folayang said.

“In some ways, I’m still very much a teacher. Now I teach the younger generation of martial artists, to help them navigate our industry,” the 35-year-old Folayang added.

The Cordilleran warrior also knew exactly the sacrifices teachers make in order to do what they do. Despite education being one of the most important pillars of modern society, teachers are paid among the lowest salaries in the entire country and are often overworked, especially public school teachers. 

Folayang believed that has to change, in order for the country to have a bright future.

“We need to take care of our teachers because they have a very important role. They take care of our children when we are not able to. They teach them how to be adults. This Teacher’s Day, let’s celebrate our teachers,” Folayang said.

“I think all work has its own unique set of challenges. But as teachers, it’s such a worthy sacrifice.

The youth is very important in our society. They will go on to be leaders of our country in their own ways. It’s important that they be brought up with the right values and the right character,” he added.

Having reached the pinnacle of the sport after winning the ONE belt with his 2016 technical knockout victory over Japanese legend Shinya Aoki, and then winning the vacant lightweight title against Amir Khan in 2018, Folayang knows he’s one of the most revered martial artists in the country. – Harley F. Palangchao