The last time that Filipino mixed martial arts star Eduard Folayang was in a title fight at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, things didn't turn out too well for the Team Lakay star.
Then the reigning and defending ONE Lightweight World Champion, Folayang fell victim to the striking prowess of challenger and reigning ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin Nguyen, who dethroned Folayang and went on to become the promotion's first-ever two-division world champion.
The loss left the Filipino crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena stunned and in shock. After all, their champion had just gotten knocked out cold.
"After the loss, I looked around and the whole stadium was very silent," Folayang said in a video relased by ONE Championship. "I realized I messed up."
Now, a little over a year has passed, and Folayang has since climbed back up the lightweight rankings. In 2018, he picked up two convincing victories over a pair of Russian grapplers in Kharun Atlangeriev and Aziz Pahrudinov.
Now, he once again finds himself challenging for the newly-vacated ONE Lightweight World Championship, opposite Singaporean knockout artist Amir Khan, who's out to make a name for himself as well.
For the Baguio City-native, his title fight at ONE: Conquest of Champions this coming November 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena is a way to redeem himself in front of his home town crowd.
Sure, Folayang already won in Manila earlier this year, but there's no better way to erase the bitter memory of losing at title at home than by reclaiming that very same title there as well.
"Masayang-masaya ako. It’s the place where I lost the belt, and given the chance to redeem myself in the same place makes a lot of difference," Folayang stated.
"You’ll need to do your very best again to claim what was lost," he added.
Sure enough, Folayang did do his best to get back on this stage.
No stranger to adversity in his career, Folayang has once again risen back up and is on the cusp of becoming a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion, something that no other former titleholder in the division has done.
What's more is that he gets the chance to do it at home, which, quite frankly, not a lot of athletes are given the chance to do.
"The opportunity was here and I’m 100 percent ready to get it," Folayang said, with a calm confidence.
Eduard Folayang meets Amir Khan for the vacant ONE Lightweight World Championship at ONE: Conquest of Champions this Friday, November 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. Catch the action LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23 beginning at 8:30 PM!