ONE FC Champion. With all the title shots, awards and recognitions, there’s more to Eduard Folayang than just “the face of the Philippine MMA.”
We often see victories, but rarely look at values. We’re amazed at triumphs, but not the training.
From humble beginnings, this son of Baguio lived a simple-but-hard-life as a kid. But his passion for sports disciplined him to become what he is today. He invested time, resources and effort to pursue the game.
Through sports, he was able to “overlook” beyond himself, found ways to earn his living and win. As young Wushu player, he dreamed, “Maybe someday I can make it into international.” He tried; he triumphed. He then shifted to professional MMA.
In my interview with Folayang, for my upcoming book Power Moves: How to Face Your Giants, Solve Problems and Win, I look closer at the heart of the Champion.
I’ll highlight three must-haves if you want to be a champion in the game of life.
1. Firmness Above Failures
As an amateur fighter, Folayang loved the training and played for simple incentives. “If you want to get something, you have to work for it,” he says.
Training years were tough. His coach tested him but Folayang kept coming back because he liked the process. “If you want to be good, you have to train,” Folayang says. The training paid off.
He literally stormed professional fights and winnings, earning the nickname “Landslide.” But in devastating losses, he persisted, learned from failures and harnessed winning strategies.
Between 2011-2016 he suffered his “roller coaster” defeat-and-rising-up. But he never let defeat discouraged him.
Rising up to the challenge, he made his undefeated streak at URCC and Martial Combat. By personally studying his opponents, he developed unconventional strategies and exploited his strengths. Whatever he lacked, he trained himself to have it.
2. Faith in God
ONE Championship proved to be a challenging battleground. He was an underdog against Shinya Aoki, the legendary champion. Doubts were cast on his career at ONE FC against the experienced, arm-breaking, knockout artist.
“What’s the best strategy? What am I going to do?” he asked. If it’s about striking, he knew he’d win. But ground fight? 99%, it’s going down. So he faithfully studied his opponent.
“It’s a matter of faith,” he says, like Bible-characters-that-defied-all-odds. Inspired, he identified with David. “Be strong and courageous, because the Lord will be with you.” He firmly believed, “If there’s no Goliath, there is no David.”
3. Focus During Fight
During the epic fight with Aoki, Folayang felt like talking with God. When Aoki cornered him, he maintained his presence of mind in God while being careful at what his rival is going to do. “Patience, patience,” he thought.
On round 3, Folayang knew Aoki’s frustrations and would take a suicide attack. Preparing his knee to counterattack, Aoki caught the blow and pounded down to become “the 2016 upset of the year.” Folayang won.
Folayang believes, “God has a purpose for our lives.” He always gives God the credit. For him, “Getting a world title is not impossible if God made you to do it. [But] there’s a price to pay. You have to do your part.”
According to Folayang, “It’s not how good we are…I know that I will not be forever in this area.”
Folayang realized that he’s only an instrument for people to know God and their salvation through Jesus Christ. He commits to lead people to that “personal relationship” with God. “That’s the best that we can contribute to the community.”
Glenn Plastina © 2017