Eduard Folayang Still Targeting A Title Shot Against Christian Lee
Former two-time ONE lightweight champion Eduard Folayang has stated that he’s not done yet, and said he still has his eye on the reigning champion, Christian Lee.
Folayang beat Shinya Aoki to win the lightweight title for the first time at ONE: Defending Honour in 2016, but lost the belt to Martin Nguyen in his second title defence. Having reclaimed the title in 2018, the Team Lakay stalwart lost the title to ‘Tobikan J?dan’ in their rematch four months later at ONE: A New Era.
The Filipino then ended up on the wrong end of another submission loss in his short-notice rubber match with the Japanese wizard at ONE on TNT 4 in April. Aoki locked Folayang in an armbar, forcing the tap in the final minute of the first round, extending his losing skid to three.
No Stranger To Adversity
Speaking to ONE Championship, Folayang said that he’s no stranger to adversity, and is fully motivated to bounce back from his recent run of losses.
“I’m not done shooting for my goals,” Folayang stated. “Other people may see it differently, but as for me, it’s far from over. I’m just taking everything in to fuel me and motivate me to have a better outing in my next performance.
“I’m on a tough losing streak, but I don’t think it should be the basis for me being a gatekeeper now, considering that we’ve won world titles before where I’ve had to go through the same adversity and rise up from it.”
Grappling is an area where Folayang has struggled in the past, as three of his last five losses have come by the way of submission. The 36 year old understands that he needs to make improvements to his ground game to reemerge as a serious contender.
“It will continue to motivate me to work on the area that [Aoki] has been working on his whole life,” Folayang said. “Obviously, I want to keep on improving in the areas where I’ve struggled in the past like the ground game and takedowns. If I can overcome that, I can show that I can still keep on improving.”
Folayang was originally scheduled to fight Yoshihiro Akiyama at ONE on TNT 4, but the Japanese-Korean had to withdraw due to a bicep tear, making way for Aoki to step in on short notice. However, ‘Sexyama’ is still on ‘The Landslide’s’ radar.
“If I was 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,” Folayang said. “Maybe we’ll cross paths, and it would be an honour to finally face him. If that happens, I know I’ll be the sexier man after that match.”
Eye On Christian Lee
Although Folayang acknowledges that he has a long way to go before he gets another title shot, he said that his ultimate goal is to challenge Lee for the ONE lightweight title.
“[I still want to face] the champion,” Folayang said. “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.
“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.”
Can Eduard Folayang bounce back from his recent run of losses?