Team Lakay Eduard Folayang is firm that he has still a lot to offer on the table as far as competing in the Circle is concerned.
Though it may take another long road, Folayang, who is set to face Japanese legend Shinya Aoki on Thursday, has set sights on the belt at age 36.
Should he win against No. 4 Aoki, the chances of him racking up more points en route to the Top 5 lightweight contenders will become higher.
That said, the two-time lightweight champion believes he has nowhere to go but up.
“Si Christian Lee as a fighter ang laking improvement niya talagang deserving naman siya as a champion (Christian Lee as a fighter has improved a lot and he really deserves to be a champion),” said Folayang, who owns a 22-10 record.
“Kasi syempre ‘yung mga nakalaban niya naman halos naipakita niya ‘yung finishes and magandang laban so magandang opportunity in the future na ‘pag nagkaroon ng opportunity, magandang ma-try din labanan (Based on his previous fighters, he showed finishes and impressive performance so I think if there’s an opportunity to face him, it would be good to try and test it myself).”
Lee, however, is enjoying his long-time reign as the lightweight champion in ONE Champion.
One of Evolve MMA’s finest fighters, Lee, 22, recently stunned No. 3 contender Timofey Nastyukhin in the first round of ONE on TNT II main event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium to improve at 15-3 record and ride on a six-match win streak.
Since capturing the world lightweight title from Aoki, Lee has defended it twice against Iuri Lapicus and Nastyukhin, winning both with first-round finishes.
Lee, who also became the youngest male mixed martial arts champion, captured the ONE lightweight world grand prix champion after beating Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev in December 2019.
Folayang, on the other hand, still needs to recover from slump after dropping four of his last five fights since March 2019, which was his first rematch with Aoki.
After yielding to Antonio Caruso last October, the Team Lakay stalwart reiterated that retirement isn’t an option for him and vowed to defy age once more.