Reigning ONE Championship lightweight champion and Team Lakay star Eduard "The Landslide" Folayang was recognized at the 2016 Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Awards Night, Monday evening, for his landmark ONE world title win last November.
The 32-year old Folayang was given a Major Award for Mixed Martial Arts.
Folayang shocked the MMA world after knocking out Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki in round three of their lightweight title fight in Singapore, marking the realization of a five-year long dream for the Baguio native.
"Napaka-laking bagay para sa akin na mabigyan ng ng PSA ng ganitong award, of course I am so much thankful, because they recognize it [MMA] as one of the growing sport, the fastest growing sport." Folayang told ABS-CBN Sports during the night of the ceremonies.
(It's a big honor for me to be given such an award from the PSA. Of course, I am thankful because they recognize it [MMA] as one of the growing sports, the fastest growing sport.)
This isn't the first time that Folayang has been recognized by the PSA, as he was given a citation for his exemplary performance in Wushu and Sanshou back in 2002.
This is the first time, however, that the PSA has recognized a mixed martial artist, and Folayang believes that the honor is a result of his the passion and love for his chosen sport.
"Iba talaga yung pakiramdam na from Wushu, now naman professionally in mixed martial arts, so I always believe na we can bear fruit sa kung saang area na ilagay tayo, basta may passion talaga tayo at gusto natin yung ginagawa natin."
(It's a different feeling, coming from Wushu, now mixed martial arts, so I always believe that we can bear fruit wherever we go, just as long as we have passion and love for what we do.)
This caps off a stellar 2016 for the former teacher-turned-MMA champion, as he was also honored as ONE Championship's fighter of the year for 2016.