Former ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang continues to receive support and words of encouragement from his legion of fans to never to give up his quest for a third world belt.
The Team Lakay prize fighter, who is also considered the poster boy of mixed martial arts in the Philippines, said he will need some rest after losing to Shinya Aoki in their trilogy bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on April 28.
But Folayang did not mean he is hanging up his gloves, as there are more fights ahead of him, which his brothers at Team Lakay claimed, too.
Aoki was the first world-class fighter to encourage Folayang to never give up shortly after their bout ended, as the Japanese legend said they may clash for a fourth time in the future.
“We both had a change of opponent and he was prepared very well. I still want Eduard to continue fighting, so I wanted to say, ‘Let’s continue together, keep on fighting’,” the Japanese star said in a post-fight interview.
“Five years ago, I lost against him. After that, I went through some struggles and a hard time, but I got through it. I think Folayang is having the same situation. He is losing a lot, but I think he can come back again. He is a good opponent, so I hope we can fight again in the near future,” Aoki added.
Even some Asian journalists with extensive coverage in MMA claimed that Folayang has more fights ahead of him.
MMA journalist JM Siasat, who was once nominated as “Journalist of the Year” for the Global Martial Arts Awards, came to Folayang’s defense when some quarters commented in social media that the Igorot fighter should consider retiring from combat sports.
Siasat shared to netizens how he came to know Folayang as a humble fighter in victory and defeat, as the Igorot warrior showed deep respect to all his opponents in and out of the circle.
The 37-year-old Folayang will continue to fight as he knows the value of hard work and perseverance.
Over the course of a career that spans more than a decade, Folayang has seen his fair share of ups and downs. He has had tremendous victories, cementing his position as one of the world’s best behind his world-class martial arts skills.
Along the way, “Landslide” has also experienced some heartbreaking setbacks. But he persevered and continued, eventually winning the ONE lightweight world championship in 2016, which became his crowning achievement. – Harley F. Palangchao