Already a legend, Folayang has nothing left to prove

EDUARD FOLAYANG

Pinoy MMA legend Eduard “Landslide” Folayang has nothing left to prove.

A landslide can be swift and violent. As it continues, it builds momentum and leaves destruction in its wake. But even the most devastating landslides have to come to a stop.

Last night, Martin Nguyen put a stop to “Landslide” Folayang in devastating fashion, knocking him unconscious in the second round of their title fight in Manila. It was hard to watch for many Pinoy MMA fans, myself included.

As a fan and as a writer, I’ve had the privilege of covering Folayang’s career very closely. From his days dominating the URCC and Martial Combat, to his rise and fall as a ONE contender, and to the pinnacle of his career as the ONE lightweight champion, I, along with many Filipino fans, have always had high hopes for Folayang. And who wouldn’t? He was always a humble, hardworking, and respectable athlete, and one that could well-represent Pinoy MMA on a world stage.

He rewarded those hopes last year, when he won the ONE lightweight belt, dethroning revered submission artist Shinya Aoki in Singapore. That moment alone solidified Folayang as one of the greatest fighters in Pinoy MMA history thus far. SEA Games gold in Wushu, URCC welterweight title, Martial Combat title, ONE lightweight champion–that’s a resume that’s very hard to beat.

The remarkable part about that is that all these titles came with blood, sweat, and tears; with falling again and again and picking himself back up. It was all done with the entire nation’s expectations resting on his shoulders. And it was done in quiet diligence, in humility, and for the greater glory of a higher being.

Eduard Folayang’s career is something we’ve all followed and learned from. We’ve felt his losses and shared in his victories, and when it’s all said and done, there’s really nothing left for him to prove. He’s already proven he’s a champion, and he’s already proven that anyone willing to pick himself up from failure can become a champion.

A New Chapter

Where Folayang goes from here is entirely up to him. He can fight another day and try to end his career off a win. Or, he could hang up the gloves and leave the fight game in the hands of the next generation of Pinoy MMA warriors. But after his devastating KO loss to Nguyen, choosing the latter would make plenty of sense.

Folayang has been in plenty of wars. He’s been cut and concussed, and his fights are either all-out wars that last until the final bell or jaw-dropping finishes where one man absorbs the beating. Simply put: His body and his brain have been through a lot.

Though Folayang is one of the toughest guys out there, his knockout losses have been brutal. In the times he was dropped by Jon Tuck, Timofey Nastyukhin, and now Nguyen, Folayang was knocked out cold.

These losses are reminiscent of the knockout losses suffered by UFC legend Chuck Liddell in the latter part of his career. Knocked out by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and then “Suga” Rashad Evans, Liddell was urged by UFC president Dana White to stop fighting. It was getting to a point where chasing former glory would come at the expense of his long-term health.

Fortunately, Liddell chose to retire and was even given an executive position with the UFC. Hopefully, ONE could offer Folayang a similar option, as they already have with ONE welterweight champ Ben Askren.

It would be tough for Folayang to make such big decisions after the loss he just suffered. But whatever he decides, one thing is for certain: the MMA community will always respect the “Landslide.”

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DojoDrifter.com. You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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