Since making his triumphant return to the ONE Championship cage this year, beloved Filipino superstar Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is on an upward trajectory.
With the intention to climb back towards the top of his weight class, Folayang impressively defeated two unbeaten Russian opposition, dominating Kharun Atlangeriev in three rounds last May before edging out Aziz Pahrudinov in a lightweight thriller two months later.
After redeeming himself from a harrowing knockout loss at the hands of Martin Nguyen by winning two-straight outings under the promotion’s banner, the former ONE Lightweight World Champion refused to sit down and relax, accepting an invitation from a close friend to train in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“I just can’t be complacent. As one of the top guys in my division and also a former champion, there will always be a target on my back. I didn’t think twice when it was offered to me to train there,” Folayang stated.
The 34-year-old Baguio City native flew out to the United States in August for a month-long training at the famous Jackson-Wink MMA training facility, which is a home to a number of world-class mixed martial artists such as Jon Jones, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Donald Cerrone and Diego Sanchez, to name a few.
From striking to grappling, Jackson-Wink MMA got it covered for Folayang, who had the rare opportunity to learn invaluable tricks of the trade from headmasters Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.
Meanwhile, Brandon “Six Gun” Gibson supervised Folayang’s striking drills at Jackson-Wink MMA.
The renowned Team Lakay member also trained at Jackson-Wink MMA’s branch in Acoma with Nick Urso, a competitor in the sport since 2011 who handled Folayang’s grappling program during his one-month stay in the state known as the “Land of Enchantment.”
Folayang likewise spent some of his time on the mats with the camp’s notable names, including Carlos Condit, Holly Holm, John Dodson and Michelle Waterson.
“It’s a privilege to work with the sport’s biggest names and talented trainers. The lessons that I learned from the best from the business are something that I will truly value for the rest of my life and will wholeheartedly share with my teammates at Team Lakay and other aspiring mixed martial artists in the country,” Folayang said of his overall experience.
Aside from the rigid training sessions at Jackson-Wink MMA, Folayang’s health and well-being were strictly monitored as he underwent a stringent four-week diet plan and intensive physical therapy.
Folayang admitted that even if he has reached the pinnacle of success in mixed martial arts, there will always be a room for improvement.
“I am a former world champion, but it doesn’t end there. There should be continuous growth. The young guns will not be prospects forever because they will soon be full-fledged contenders. I am just doing my part as a hungry competitor to improve areas of my game that must be addressed,” he explained.
Although he was painfully constrained to be temporarily separated from his family for a month, it was an omen for a chance to recapture the lightweight crown that he lost to Nguyen nearly a year ago.
Folayang is booked to square off with Singapore’s Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship in the main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS, which takes place at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on November 23.
With an opponent that is much younger and equally skillful facing him in his bid to regain the ONE Lightweight World Championship, Folayang made no secret of his eagerness to utilize everything that he learned at Jackson-Wink MMA in his bout against Khan.
“The heart to compete is still there. My dream, goal, and vision are to reclaim the lightweight title. I cannot wait to apply and show the world what I learned at Jackson-Wink MMA in my next fight. Philippines, get ready for a new and improved Eduard Folayang,” he guaranteed.