Eduard Folayang has taken to Facebook to reminisce about his first ever ONE Championship fight. The Filipino headlined the promotion’s first ever card in 2011.
ONE FC: ‘Champion vs Champion’ took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The main event pitted Folayang against A Sol Kwon.
The Filipino had been booked to face Ole Laursen but the opponent was switched when the K-1 veteran suffered an injury in training. Folayang shared his thoughts on the fight:
During the fight Folayang suffered a bad cut and a broken nose. But despite sustaining serious injuries he has fond memories of that night,
“It’s the debut of ONE Championship I had to prove I am worthy to headline the event. I am so happy, all the lessons I learned and (I) still have a lot of potential to showcase before calling it an end.”
Of the 20 fighters in action that night Folayang is the only one who is still an active member of the ONE Championship roster. Leandro Issa appears to still be signed to the promotion but he hasn’t fought since 2019.
Afterwards he received a $5,000 USD bonus for his efforts. If he put in a performance like that in 2021 it would earn him $75,000 USD, which goes to show how much more lucrative the sport has become.
Folayang has lost his last six out of his last seven MMA fights. But the 37 year old did beat John Wayne Parr in a wild Muay Thai fight at ONE: ‘X’ earlier this year.
That decision win demonstrated that the 37 year old still has plenty to offer as a fighter. He doesn’t currently have a fight booked but Folayang definitely isn’t contemplating retirement just yet.
Folayang is a veteran of 23 ONE Championship fights, more than any other fighter. He also captured the promotion’s lightweight title in 2016 and held it for a year.
In his MMA career Folayang has been in with the likes of Shinya Aoki, Eddie Alvarez and Martin Nguyen. But after the win over Parr he expressed an interest in competing in more Muay Thai bouts.
The Filipino comes from a wushu background and has won gold medals at the SEA Games on three separate occasions. His decision to continue representing his country in these competitions even after enjoying success on the MMA stage has helped him become a very popular fighter in the Philippines.
It has been a long journey for Folayang with ONE Championship but it all began in 2011. He was losing that fight but finished very strongly despite having a bloody face and a broken nose.
Folayang is still renowned for his stamina and tails of his work ethic in training are legendary. By contrast Kwon would never fight for ONE Championship again, the Korean will be making a comeback of sorts when he competes in a boxing match tomorrow.
Folayang is renowned for his spirit and his never say die attitude. Both were on display that night in 2011 and it set the tone for a glorious ONE Championship career that is still going strong 11 years later.