Just a week ago, Pieter “The Archangel” Buist had no bouts on the horizon, but now he is set to face one of Asia’s best and most decorated martial artists next Friday, 31 January at ONE: FIRE AND FURY.
The Dutchman – who has posted a perfect 2-0 slate in ONE Championship so far – will face former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang in the co-main event of The Home Of Martial Arts’ first show in Manila, Philippines, of 2020.
Though he barely has any time to prepare and Folayang will have the advantage of competing in front of his home crowd, Buist is confident he can make the most of his opportunity and silence the Mall Of Asia Arena with a knockout win.
In this exclusive interview, “The Archangel” tells us how he reacted when he got the call to face a legend, and why he thinks he can shock the world when he squares off with Folayang.
ONE Championship: Can you tell us about how and when this opportunity came about?
Pieter Buist: I got the call Wednesday and they asked me if I wanted to fill in. I said to my manager, ‘Let me train this evening, and when I feel good, we will do it.’
Normally I give myself more rest between training sessions as my last fight I was a little bit overtrained, so I wanted to know how I felt. I trained and I felt amazing. When I was on my bicycle riding home, I called my manager and I said, ‘Tell them that I will come and I will beat him!’
ONE: Did the birth of your new baby on 4 January affect your decision at all?
PB: Yes, I just became a father, but I was still in training, so why not? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and sometimes you just have to jump in. You must take these opportunities, believe in yourself, and do it. You always have to stay in shape.
Of course, there are some sleepless nights (laughs), and sometimes you have a little less energy, but it’s not a problem. I’m so happy and so blessed becoming a father again, and then this fight came through. It’s truly a blessing.
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ONE: Where do you think Folayang is most dangerous?
PB: His striking. He does a lot of different things. He throws a side kick, and if he gives away his back, he gives you a spinning back fist behind it, so there is that.
But… he tries to keep his opponents at bay because he knows his ground game isn’t his strongest thing, so for me, he is a perfect fighter as I will have a much bigger reach.
ONE: Where do you believe you have the advantage over him?
PB: Everywhere – close range, at range, on the ground. I train with the best in the world, so I am prepared for everything.
He will have nothing new for me. Even though there will be 20,000 people in the stadium supporting him, I really don’t care. He has the pressure, not me.
ONE: You have family in the Philippines, so will they be in Manila to support you?
PB: Yeah, I have family over there. My auntie is married to a Filipino guy, so they are living there. My niece and my auntie are coming.
Folayang can have the support of the Philippines, but I have the support of the whole world. When the fight got announced, I got so many messages. People are really supporting me.
ONE: How do you see the bout going?
PB: I think I will finish him in the first or second round. He will try to keep me at bay with those side kicks. It will be the same kind of fight as [Antonio] Caruso who I faced last, but he really didn’t want to quit. I don’t think Folayang is a quitter, but look at what Eddie Alvarez did to him when he got to his back.
Caruso kept coming. So I think it was a good tune-up fight for me. It was a long time ago that I had to go the full three rounds. That was a long, hard fight. Now, this one won’t be easy, but I will finish it tactically.
ONE: Where would a win put you in the division?
PB: I think in the top three, top four – then I would like to look at the World Title before the end of the year.