February 22, 2024

Two-time mixed martial arts lightweight world champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is not entertaining calls for him to hang up his gloves and coach younger fighters.
“After years of experimenting, searching, and trying to find my way, I finally understand the things that matter – not money, not fame, not adventure, but the love for everything I do. Too far from the finish road, as is still getting tougher,” said the 36-year-old Folayang.
Folayang’s statement has ended speculations from some quarters that he is mulling retirement from combat sports following his split decision loss in his latest fight against Pieter Buist last month.
If fight fans think that Folayang needs to consider retiring given his age, the poster boy of MMA in the Philippines is relatively not old for the sport.
Like sports icon Manny Pacquiao who remains in competitive boxing at age 40, Folayang is definitely not yet over from competitive MMA, as most of the top contenders in the lightweight division are also in their mid-30s.
Multiple champions Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez are both 36 years old while former ONE strawweight champions Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke and Alex Silva are 41 and 37 years old, respectively.
“My mind is still in the competitive stage. I am not at the point where I want to focus on being a coach or a trainer. I know I’ll be headed there someday, so why rush?” Folayang said.
His teammates at the iconic Team Lakay agree with him, as even the younger fighters are confident that Folayang will come back strong.
When Folayang was knocked out in cold blood by two-division world champion Martin Nguyen in 2017, some fans thought it was time for him to retire.
Folayang came back strong by defeating three formidable opponents, including two previously undefeated Russian fighters. He also won via unanimous decision against former title contender Amir Khan to earn a championship bout against Aoki, who would soon stop the Igorot fighter via rear-naked choke in their championship bout.
Folayang again suffered rear-naked choke submission in the hands of Alvarez but he came back to win against Tsogookhuu Amarsanaa of Mongolia late last year. – Harley F. Palangchao