The sport of MMA is developing rapidly in the Philippines and Eduard Folayang is the most famous fighter to have emerged from the scene there. He also regularly represents his country at Wushu, winning a gold medal at the recent South East Asian Games, making him an all round national hero.
He is the reigning champion of the URCC, the longest running promotion in South East Asia but has not fought in the Philippines since March 2010. He fought three times for Martial Combat in Singapore and, when ONE Fighting Championships was founded in 2011 he was the first name on the list of potential headliners.
ONE FC has a budget and viewership which is unprecedented in Asian mixed martial arts history and Folayang’s bout with A Sol Kwon was the fight of the night on the inaugural show. The URCC champion survived a broken nose to win against the experienced Korean who had been on a six fight win streak.
As his international reputation grew on the back of that performance it seemed unlikely that Folayang would ever defend his URCC title, or fight for the promotion which gave him his big break. However late last year a groundbreaking idea called the ‘ONE FC Network’ was born with a simple concept, for some of the top promotions in Asia and Australia to work together to share resources, contacts, ideas and fighters.
The network currently includes DREAM in Japan, Cage Fighting Championships in Australia, Road FC in Korea, DARE Championships in Thailand, and the URCC in the Philippines. This means that Folayang’s ONE FC contract allowed him to potentially fight for any of the promotions in the network and the URCC wasted no time in offering him a first defence of his welterweight title in almost two years.
He will be making a homecoming at URCC Cebu 7 on January 13 when he will fight against Wadson Teixeira in front of the Filipino fans. Folayang will have plenty of support but with that comes serious pressure to defeat an opponent who is a Brazilian National Muay Thai champion and holds a brown belt in BJJ.
Folayang took time out from training at Team Lakay Wushu, which is also home to URCC champions Roy Docyogen, Kevin Belingon, and Honorio Banario, to talk to Fighters.com and discuss his thoughts on the fight with Wadson and the future:
What are your thoughts on your opponent Wadson Teixeira, do you know anything about him?
Well, I think Wadson has a great stand up game as he is the Brazilian National Champion in Muay Thai and he has also has good submission skills. Other than that I don’t know so much about him.
Wadson is probably the best BJJ fighter you have ever faced, are you worried about the possibility of getting submitted?
Everything happens in MMA but I’m not worried about being submitted because I train every day at Team Lakay Wushu and I am confident in my skills on the ground.
There is talk of Ole Laursen fighting you for your URCC title later this year, have the promoters spoken to you about that?
I was supposed to fight him at ONE FC 1 but he got injured. I’m still not sure whether that fight will ever happen.
When do you think you will be fighting for One FC again?
This year for sure perhaps at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in March or if not maybe in July.
Your last four fights have been inside a cage, will it feel strange being in a ring again when you fight for URCC?
Yes, there will be some adjustment again on my part fighting in the ring.
The ONE FC network would allow you to fight in Dream, CFC in Australia, Road FC in Korea and Dare Championships in Thailand as well as ONE FC. Have you discussed the possibility of fighting for any of these promotions and are you hoping to keep busy in 2012?
Yes. This will be a great opportunity for every fighter to get exposure and it’s a really good thing for both the fighters and the fans. I am happy because having so many different promotions to fight on should help me to fight more and I’m hoping to fight in some of these different promotions, especially DREAM. Yes, I believe that I will be busy this 2012.
I heard you spent your $5,000 ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus from One FC 1 on building a house, how’s that going?
Yah,I’m building a small house here in Baguio City but it will take more fund to finish it, so that will be one of my motivations to give a good show in every fights!
Make sure to stay tuned for more updates on the MMA scene is SE Asia!
PHOTO CREDIT – ONE FC