Over the last 13 years of his storied mixed martial arts career, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang‘s character has not changed one bit – at least according to the woman who knows him best.
Genevieve Folayang watched her mild-mannered husband from Baguio City grow from an unknown athlete to the face of Filipino mixed martial arts. But away from the action, she still recognizes “Landslide” as the same person she fell in love with.
“He’s never changed,” she says.
“I am proud of him because he never shows off. I expected him to change a bit as he became more famous, but that did not happen. He remained the same person.”
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While the first lady of the Folayang family has been impressed with her husband’s humbleness, she was also surprised by his meteoric rise on the global stage.
The Team Lakay superstar first became the ONE Lightweight World Champion when he knocked out Japanese legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in November 2016.
Although his reign ended a year later, “Landslide” regained the gold by defeating Amir Khan for the then-vacant title in November 2018.
“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting him to go this far,” Genevieve admits. “But since he did and remained the same, the respect that people have for him, from his friends to his neighbors, rose exponentially.”
Eduard wasn’t just garnering respect from those in his personal life; he was also getting plenty of it from the ONE Championship matchmakers. That meant he needed to train even more often and be on call for potential showdowns against the promotion’s top lightweight contenders.
But despite being away from his family to pursue his ultimate passion, he has always gotten the support of his wife.
“He’s made it this far because of how dedicated he is with what he does,” Genevieve says.
“He reminded me to believe in him and support him during the times when he was on the rise, and now he has made a name for himself in the industry.”
These days, Eduard’s name is often heard in crowds before the snaps of fan photos. While that could be overwhelming for some partners, Genevieve has learned to deal with her husband’s fame quite remarkably.
“When we’re out, I usually move back and offer to take the photos for [the fans],” she says.
“We are so proud of him, especially the kids. Our eldest is just 3 years old and I can see how happy she is when people approach us to take pictures with her dad.
“A lot of people ask how it feels to be the other half. For me, I am happy.”
It’s clear that no matter how far “Landslide” goes in his career, his family will always come first.
“The nicest thing about him is that he gives all he can to the children,” Genevieve adds. “When he goes home, the first thing he does is hug the kids. He always wants to play with them – he feeds them and he’s very hands-on.”
Read more: The Untold Story Of Team Lakay