Eduard “Landslide” Folayang steps back into the ONE FC cage and will be fighting for his home country against WEC and UFC vet Kamal Shalorus on 31 May. The wushu medalist, former high school teacher and stand out Filipino MMA fighter aims to set himself on the road to a championship with the challenge in front of him. MMA-in-Asia Philippines correspondent Kristi Barrientos spoke with Folayang just ahead of his upcoming match about his recent fights, his training in the US, and how he feels the next opportunity will go.
Recently you went abroad to the US to train. How was your experience?
My training in the States was an eye opener for me, I really saw the sport in a wider perspective.
Did it made you more confident in your ground work?
It was my first formal instruction in jiu jitsu and it helped a lot.
Who helped to fund your training there?
I paid for my trip going to the US with the help of my friends and family who willingly shared to defray my expenses.
Your family and team really support you. How is your team been helping you in training for this fight?
My team helps me in a lot of ways, its where we share all the knowledge that we have in this sport, it builds the relationship of being brothers and it is where we prepare ourselves before stepping into the fight.
How many people are now in the fighters’ program that you train with regularly? It must be quite large. Does it make you feel proud or stronger as a team?
There are 10 to 15, yeah it’s a quite large and it makes me happy knowing that a lot of upcoming fighters are already being molded to be future champions.
Is there anything specifically you’ve been working on to face Kamal Shalorus?
I’ve been preparing physically, mentally and spiritually for this fight. We do a lot of conditioning, skills and technique training.
Is your mental training any different for this fight, since it’s another step up in level?
Yes, I am more confident to step up to another level.
What is your strongest point against next Shalorus?
My determination to win. This will keep me going.
Do you see any weaknesses in your opponent’s game?
He’s strong but he’s stiff when he strikes.
He’s strong on the ground, what do you think you will be able to do to gain an advantage over him?
Well I learned enough from my setbacks, so watch how can I handle this fight.
Is there anything you want to tell Kamal?
All the best for this fight.
What kind of Eduard Folayang can the fans expect?
The same Eduard Folayang who keeps on learning.
This fight’s in your own country. Where do you feel more pressure when fighting? In your own country or abroad? Why?
I almost feel the same but the difference is that there are expectations from every person you meet if you are in your own country.
And where do you feel more comfortable in fighting, a ring or in a cage?
In a cage, I prefer it more because of a wider space and the action is continuous.
Are there any personal difficulties with being a professional MMA fighter?
I think when you fight without a good sense of purpose, then it’s very difficult.
No one likes to lose. Your fights have been extremely tough and exciting, though. How do you channel the feeling and keep going?
Well I believe in my unchanging God that through my prayers. I cast every anxieties and worries I have to Him and He always listens and cares for me even though I always have tough fights. This keeps me going.
Why do you take such tough fights?
I take them because I am a fighter and I want to test my skills, where I improved and where I still need some improvements.
How do you feel about being considered one of Asia’s toughest up-and-coming fighters? Does is motivate you or pressure you?
I am happy to be thought of like that, and it motivates me to improve and learn more in this endeavor.
Do fans recognize you on the streets?
Sometimes, mostly in restaurants and malls!
Why do you think Filipinos are so strong in MMA now?
I think because we Filipinos can adopt easily in any kind of martial arts. And its where we usually excel in terms of International games.
Anything you want to say to the people who support you and to your fans?
I would like to give my sincerest appreciation and thanks to all the people who believe in Team Lakay and help us in all our endeavors.