Folayang opens up on future plans, sets sights on Akiyama

Published June 26, 2021, 8:36 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Team Lakay veteran Eduard Folayang expressed desire to continue his fight against seasoned mixed martial arts fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama in the Circle.

Eduard Folayang (ONE Championship)

“If given the chance to face him, of course, I’d want to test him. I haven’t faced him before and I want to see how I fare against him,” said Folayang, who holds a 22-11 record. “Maybe in the proper time, maybe we’ll cross paths, and it will be an honor to finally face him (Akiyama).”

The two were supposed to lock horns in ONE on TNT IV but the Japanese-Korean MMA icon sustained an injury during training camp, which prompted ONE Championship to put another Japanese legend in Shinya Aoki as a replacement.

This paved the way for the all-star lightweight showdown and trilogy between Folayang and Aoki.

Aoki emerged as the winner with a first-round submission on Folayang to improve at 47-9-0 slate.

The 45-year-old Akiyama (15-7) for his part, last saw action in the Circle in February last year with a first-round knockout win against Sherif Mohamed of Egypt.

Meanwhile, Folayang needs to take the long road ahead to barge into the Top 5 rankings after dropping five of his last six fights since March 2019, which was also his first rematch with Aoki.

After the loss, Folayang, 36, was quick to fend off retirement talks anew and vowed to come back stronger as long as his passion for the sport is burning.

READ: Folayang: You will see me rise again

And perhaps before retirement, Folayang would like to have his swan song by shooting for a title shot against reigning lightweight king Christian Lee.

“It’s still the champion. I still want to test myself against him in the future. I know that I am not in the position to call him out now, but still, my eyes are on him,” said the Team Lakay stalwart.

“I’ve seen how much Christian Lee has improved and grown through the years. I’m really impressed with how easily he transitioned from featherweight to lightweight, and from the tough opposition that he’s faced, he showed what he can truly do.”

READ: Folayang lauds Christian Lee, hopes to face him soon