ONE Chairman Chatri Sityodtong: "I expect Eduard Folayang to shine again."
"We all lose in life, all of us. We fail, we fall down, but itís the warriors that get back up, and I expect Eduard to shine again." - ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena, Eduard Folayang's reign as ONE lightweight world champion came to a crashing halt, at the hands (literally and figuratively) of Martin Nguyen.
It was a hard sequence to watch. Seeing Folayang sprawled out in front of a stunned MoA crowd is a heartbreaking image, especially if you're a Filipino fight fan.
And while it was devastating loss on the Team Lakay star's record, ONE Championship CEO and chairman Chatri Sityodtong doesn't want you to think that Folayang is done.
"I don’t want you to count Eduard out." Sityodtong said at the post-fight press conference. "He is a warrior, he’s a Filipino hero, and like all warriors who fall down, he will get back on his feet."
Truth be told, this isn't the first time that Folayang has been on the wrong end of a violent knockout.
Back in 2014, also at the Mall of Asia Arena, Folayang was knocked out by Timofey Nastyukhin, who landed a perfectly timed flying knee.
It was Folayang's last loss before going on his magical run, which included winning a world championship over a Japanese juggernaut in Shinya Aoki a year ago.
What made Folayang's journey such an inspiring one was that before becoming a world champion, the Baguio City native went through tons of adversity, in and outside of the cage.
Now, no longer at the top of the division, Folayang will head back to the drawing board, and Sityodtong expects him to rise to the challenge once again.
"I really believe in Eduard, not only as a martial artist, but also as a human being, so let’s see what he does, but I really believe he has that warrior pride in him, he is a warrior, he’s a Filipino, born and bred real warriors."
"We all lose in life, all of us. We fail, we fall down, but it’s the warriors that get back up, and I expect Eduard to shine again." Sityodtong added.
Earlier this year, when Folayang successfully defended his title against Ev Ting in Manila, the Pinoy warrior was definitely on top of the world.
"I rose up." Folayang said then.
There is nothing that Filipino fans would want more than to see their Filipino hero rise once again.