Eduard “Landslide” Folayang had the perfect end to 2018.
He captured the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship in front of his countrymen at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines last November.
Then, one month later, the Filipino hero experienced another life-altering event. His wife gave birth to their second child — a little girl named Yahamaziach.
It was a well-deserved culmination of events for Folayang.
The 35-year-old had to go through an intense eight-week training camp for his World Title bout while caring for his wife, who was in the final trimester of her pregnancy.
“It was a huge sacrifice for both of us,” the Baguio City native shares.
“I’m thankful for my wife, who was so understanding, and for friends, who were more than willing to help.
“Our situations complemented [each other] in the sense that she was going through a lot, which gave me more motivation to do well in preparing for the match.”
Now a family of four, which includes the couple’s first daughter Yeshuareigns, Folayang is even more inspired to be the best World Champion and role model he can possibly be.
He embraces the responsibility of guiding his children on their respective life journeys and providing for his family.
For “Landslide,” that means continuing to win inside the ONE Championship cage, all while making more time with his loved ones.
“It gives me the motivation to provide for their needs because I had the realization that I need to fulfill my responsibility as a father and provider for them when my second child came,” the Filipino explains.
“It helps me think smarter and work harder in my endeavors, and I get the urgency to become better in balancing my time and priorities.”
As his family continues to grow, Folayang is also beginning to realize he may need to alter his approach when it comes to training and competing.
The Baguio City native has thrived in the world of combat sports. During his career, he has claimed 11 major medals in wushu, and he is currently the reigning three-time ONE Lightweight World Champion.
However, to achieve all of those honors, “Landslide” had to put in long hours under the watch of head coach Mark Sangiao at Team Lakay.
There are times when injuries occur during training camp and in the heat of battle, and while that may be a legitimate concern for the new father of two, he does not see it hindering his passion.
“You can’t take away the desire of self-preservation from a person, especially when thinking about our children’s future,” he says.
“Personally, I think I should be more careful in my approach and prepare myself better for matches in order to avoid unwanted risks to the best of my ability.”
Folayang also hopes his daughters can appreciate the hard work he is putting into his career.
The Baguio City native has undoubtedly become one of the most popular martial artists in the world, and he is a role model and symbol to all of his compatriots in the Philippines.
He does not plan to hang up his four-ounce gloves anytime soon, as he has many goals he still wants to accomplish. However, “Landslide” hopes his children will grow up to appreciate the legacy he is building in the sport and the impact he is having on the world around them.
“I [would like for them to see] that I have shared my gifts through martial arts to the world,” he states.
“I hope they see that through my accomplishments, I have inspired even just a handful of people to be better in their own endeavors.
Folayang’s greatest accomplishment yet could happen at ONE’s inaugural Japan event on Sunday, 31 March.
If the Filipino hero can once again defeat Aoki, he could cement his status as the greatest Asian lightweight in mixed martial arts history.