ONE Championship: Age nothing but a number as Folayang becomes two-time world champion after 35th birthday
Santino Honasan on Nov 26, 2018 10:05 AM
"In mixed martial arts, in this journey, it’s really hard to say that martial artists are old."
At ONE: Conquest of Champions last Friday, November 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena, Filipino mixed martial arts star Eduard Folayang defeated Singapore's Amir Khan to become a two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion.
Folayang outclassed Khan throughout their five-round battle to earn a clear-cut unanimous decision nod and make history as the first-ever two-time champion in the lightweight division, just twelve months after he saw his first run as champion had ended.
Making the win even more special for Folayang was that it came a day after his 35th birthday.
When asked if he felt at all his age during the fight, the new two-time champion jokingly responded that he felt a bit older, actually.
"Akala ko nga 53 eh," Folayang said as he was greeted with laughs from the post-fight press conference audience.
Against Khan, Folayang faced an opponent that was ten years his junior, and in their battle of top-tier lightweight stars, it was strength, experience, and gameplan that triumphed over youth.
And while Folayang is already in what people call "the wrong side of 30", the Team Lakay star isn't really concerned about his age.
"Pero you know, age is just a number," said the new champ. "Diba may kasabihan tayo dito sa Pilipinas na kalabaw lang ang tumatanda? Well hindi naman ako naging mabagal kanina."
This wasn't the first time that the Baguio City native has been asked about his age, and how much longer he sees himself competing.
Folayang has used a number of fellow fighters as reference points in saying that they can keep competing well into their 40s, why couldn't he do the same.
Adrian Pang, a former opponent of Folayang is still going strong at 41 years of age.
"In mixed martial arts, in this journey, it’s really hard to say that martial artists are old. Just like [Narantungalag] Jadambaa, they are in their 40s, but they can be able to perform well."
Jadambaa, the former ONE Featherweight World Champion, is coming off back-to-back victories and has won four of his last five bouts. Even at 42 years of age, Jadambaa is still a top contender in the division.
At 35, Folayang is definitely no spring chicken, but if Pang and Jadambaa are any indicators, then it means that we could still be seeing "Landslide" competing at a very high level for a least the next five years.