Eduard Folayang is making his Muay Thai debut this week. He is facing the most successful Australian fighter the sport has ever produced on the historic ONE: ‘X’ card.

Switching sports to take on Muay Thai legend John Wayne Parr was a bold move but Folayang is not afraid of a challenge,

“I’m an athlete who doesn’t back down and looks for reasons to back down. We look for challenges for us to grow and to evolve into better fighters. This could further unlock my potential.”

Warrior spirit

This show commemorates ONE Championship’s tenth anniversary. In 2011 Folayang headlined the inaugural event and came back to beat A Sol Kwon despite suffering a broken nose in the first round.

He has become known for this warrior spirit during the course of his ten year ONE Championship career. For once he will be facing an older man on Saturday but Folayang is not underestimating the Australian,

“It’s always wrong to underestimate legends because of their age. Legends are like fine wine. They may be old, but they can still take you out.”

Slightly different

Folayang won several gold medals during his wushu career, representing his country on the international stage. Muay Thai is a different challenge but the Filipino believes he brings something slightly different to the table,

“There are a lot of people who want to fight John Wayne Parr in his retirement bout. I saw this as a big opportunity to fight him in his domain, and I like challenges.Who knows? Maybe my style is something he hasn’t seen in his time in the sport.”

It has been a while since JWP last won a fight but Folayang won’t be underestimating him,

“You know me, whoever my opponent is, whatever the circumstances may be, I always think of them in their most dangerous form. I just have to do my part, prepare and showcase what I’ve been training for. It’s always dangerous to underestimate opponents, especially legends.”

Switching codes

He also hinted that he would be willing to participate in more Muay Thai or kickboxing bouts in the future,

“I want to get a feel for the sport, for ONE Super Series in this fight. Maybe after this fight, I will be able to assess and think about what I truly want to do moving forward. It’s hard to say yes immediately. It just so happened that this opportunity opened up for me, and I grabbed it. After this, I’ll be able to decide.”

Folayang is an MMA veteran and a former ONE Championship lightweight champion. He knows he will be the underdog in this bout but is determined to cause Parr some problems,

“That’s just the way it goes, I guess. I’ve been competing for a long time, and I think this is a good thing for me. They expect me to come in as the underdog, and that’s okay. It gives me a chance to focus on myself, and the problems that I will be giving him inside the ring.”