Folayang tries to defy age: I believe I’m still fresh

Published October 23, 2020, 5:14 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Photo from ONE Championship

Eduard Folayang of Team Lakay has been the face of mixed martial arts in the Philippines for the longest time.

Having bannered the Philippine flag in a global stage through the years, particularly in Singapore-based mixed martial arts promotion ONE Championship, Folayang isn’t backing down from the sport just yet.

No less than ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong believes that at age of 35, Folayang is still “very fresh” and has still a lot to offer in the Circle.

“I think Eduard is a phenomenal athlete,” Sityodtong told Filipino sportswriters in a virtual press conference Friday. “Wins and losses happen for every athlete but for me, when I look at him, he’s always hungry and he always improves his skills set.”

Folayang will be returning to the Circle on Oct. 30 against  Australian foe Antonio Caruso in ONE: Inside the Matrix, which also features four world title bout, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

This will be Folayang’s first fight in nine months after losing to Dutchman Pieter Buist last January at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City just before the coronavirus pandemic changed the landscape of sporting events.

While future plans depend on the results of the upcoming fight, Sityodtong believes this won’t be Folayang’s last fight in ONE Championship.

Considering his matchup against Caruso as a must-win, Folayang, who will turn 36 next month, remains optimistic for the future despite losing three of his last four fights since 2019.

“We have a saying in the Philippines, ‘Only carabaos get old.’ I think it’s just like a fish swimming in the water. If you put out the fish in water, it will die,” said Folayang, who holds a 22-9 record.

“This is one of the things I experience in the sports of [mixed] martial arts. Putting a lot of effort even in this kind of age, I believe I’m still fresh,” the two-time lightweight champion added.

Meanwhile, Sityodtong also confirmed future bouts for the rest of Team Lakay fighters such as strawweight champion Joshua Pacio and flyweight contender Danny Kingad.