Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is perhaps the most iconic Filipino martial arts superstar in the history of ONE Championship.
The 34-year-old has endeared himself to millions of fans across Asia, especially to those in the Philippines, as a humble, hard-working professional with an unwavering drive to succeed.
Armed with elite martial arts skill and technique, he has captured the hearts of many with every spectacular performance inside the ONE cage.
Here now are five reasons why Eduard Folayang is an excellent example for the world to follow.
He Is Humble In Both Victory And Defeat
In November 2016, Folayang achieved a lifelong dream. He defeated modern day Japanese legend Shinya Aoki to become the ONE Lightweight World Champion. The Baguio City native propped the belt up on his shoulders and shed tears at the center of the cage. It was the greatest moment of his career.
Folayang used his position as champion to meet with his fans, making regular visits to public schools in the Philippines to hold inspirational talks with youths.
“Landslide” relished in those activities, and considered it a privilege as world champion. He wanted kids to know that their dreams were possible if they worked hard enough.
In 2017, Folayang put his title on the line twice — he beat Ev Ting in April, but lost to Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen by devastating knockout in November. It was a punch that reverberated through the entire Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
Fans were left in shock, but instead of making excuses or sulking in defeat, Folayang held his head up high and thanked his opponent for a great match.
Folayang showed humility, even in the worst loss of his career, and this is something absolutely everyone can stand to learn from.
The Ability To Overcome Adversity
Growing up, Folayang’s family in the Philippines was tragically impoverished. He was raised in a household that struggled to put food on the table on a daily basis. His mother and father had worked multiple jobs, including selling fruit on the streets of Baguio City, just to make ends meet.
As the family did not have access to proper healthcare, five of the nine Folayang siblings perished due to illness at a very young age. Eduard survived, but things were certainly not easy by any means.
It is this sort of adversity that defines greatness. Hardship and tribulation due to extreme poverty is common, and many people have had to fight tooth and nail for any accomplishment. The “Landslide” himself has had to overcome it.
Folayang then reached the pinnacle of martial arts, brought his family out of the trenches, and gave them a better life. He was able to beat his own circumstances through sheer determination, and now he hopes to inspire others to do the same.
He Knows The Value Of Hard Work And Perseverance
Filipinos are known for their extraordinary hospitality, bright smiles, and kindness. Folayang himself is a shining example, being soft-spoken while standing with dignity and pride, showing unshakeable resolve in the face of any problem.
Over the course of a career that spans more than a decade, Folayang has seen his fair share of ups and downs. He has had tremendous victories, cementing his position as one of the world’s best behind his world-class martial arts skills.
Along the way, “Landslide” has also experienced some heartbreaking setbacks. Back-to-back losses to Lowen Tynanes and Kamal Shalorus five years ago were certainly painful. A shocking knockout loss to Timofey Nastyukhin in 2014 nearly sent Folayang into retirement, as he considered hanging up his gloves for good.
He persevered and continued, eventually winning the ONE Lightweight World Championship in 2016, which became his crowning achievement. With his performances, Folayang proved that hard work and perseverance go hand-in-hand if you want to realize your dreams.
Family Always Comes First
Folayang knew his family needed him, so he stepped up to the plate to support them. He went to the University Of The Cordilleras on a wushu scholarship, earned a Bachelor’s degree, and eventually got a job as a school teacher. Years later, he left his day job and pursued his passion for martial arts, which changed his life forever.
Above all else, Folayang is a family man. Aside from giving his family a better life, and overcoming extreme poverty to put food on the table, Folayang now has a family of his own with wife Gen and daughter Yeshuareigns.
“Landslide” says that all his hard work goes into making sure his family has a much better life than what he experienced growing up. To provide a good future for his daughter, the former world champion strives to be the best, and is now more dedicated than ever to achieving his goals.
It is an important thing for the world to be family-oriented. The value of family is something everyone should embrace. Folayang began his career from the very bottom and worked his way up the ladder to get to the top, and it was all because of his love for his family.
His Undying Loyalty
In this day and age, such loyalty is hard to come by. Born and raised in Baguio City, “Landslide” has lived in the same town his whole life, even though he possesses the means to live anywhere he wants in the world.
Up in the high altitudes of his hometown, Folayang hones his skills alongside his brothers and sisters at Team Lakay under the careful guidance of coach Mark Sangiao. Together, Team Lakay has formed a dynamic group of talented fighters who continue to live and train there, despite the success they have achieved throughout their careers.
This proves the undeniable loyalty inherent in each and every one of them, and proves that when placed in the right things, has the power to move mountains.