But the former ONE Lightweight World Champion will not compete in his accustomed rule set. He will be the first mixed martial artist to transition into ONE Super Series as he takes on John Wayne Parr in the Aussie’s retirement bout.
Eduard Folayang to Enter Muay Thai Matchup Against Retiring John Wayne Parr at ONE X
Game recognizes game 🤝 John Wayne Parr faces Filipino legend Eduard Folayang on 26 March at ONE X! 🥊 @johnwayneparr #WeAreONE #ONEChampionship#ONEX | 26 March | Tickets 👉 https://t.co/4ieR6zPLNe pic.twitter.com/mbZNp7PImE
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) March 16, 2022
The Filipino legend is embracing the moment by returning to a pure striking ruleset. The wushu black belt will test himself in a Muay Thai matchup against a true legend of the game.
“I actually thought we could meet in a boxing match because that way we would be meeting halfway. But when they told me this was going to be his retirement bout, I thought I might as well try it,” said Folayang.
“I know he’s a legend of the sport, and I saw an opportunity to experience what it would be like to fight him, to see what kind of problems I would give him in the Circle, and how my wushu style would fare against him.”
Eduard Folayang knows he is the underdog, but for the 37-year-old, it is not about the win or loss. It is about embracing the martial arts spirit and challenging himself against the best available athlete.
“Actually, I was scheduled for an MMA bout at ONE X, but my opponent had to pull out. They said John Wayne Parr was looking for a retirement fight, and they offered it to me. I thought it was a very good opportunity. It’s an opportunity for me to test my striking against a legend in the sport of Muay Thai,” said Folayang.
“I’ve been competing for a long time, and I think this is a good thing for me. They expect me to come in as the underdog, and that’s okay. It gives me a chance to focus on myself and the problems that I will be giving him inside the ring.”
It will not be the first time “Landslide” has faced Muay Thai artists in striking matches. Back in his wushu days, he met them in many international competitions.
Folayang hopes to use that experience to his advantage and stun the world by sending Parr out with a loss.
“I’ve faced Muay Thai artists in the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games. Thailand usually sends professional Muay Thai athletes to compete for them in different combat sports, and they’re very strong,” said the former lightweight king.
Folayang is not taking Parr lightly. He understands that he is playing into his rules and that he will be motivated for his final professional bout. Still, the Filipino star is prepared to use his unique style to combat the living legend.
“No matter how you spin it, this is still definitely his world. Maybe I’m just banking on my unpredictability. Examining his last fight, Nieky [Holzken] showed him different looks, and it gave him problems. I saw him have trouble with Nieky’s boxing, compared to JWP’s traditional Muay Thai. So for me, it’s all about doing something different,” said “Landslide.”
Folayang Eyes “Super” Sage
Following this match, Folayang is not shutting the door on future ONE Super Series matches; however, he still has his eyes set on Sage Northcutt.
“Honestly, I don’t know. I want to get a feel for the sport, for ONE Super Series in this fight. Maybe after this fight, I will be able to assess and think about what I truly want to do moving forward,” said the 37-year-old.
“It just so happened that this opportunity opened up for me, and I grabbed it. After this, I’ll be able to decide. I’ve been competing for the longest time. I’ve been called the face of Philippine MMA, so as much as possible, I want to further add to that legacy.”
“Yeah, maybe it’s Sage Northcutt. We’ve been scheduled to face off for a long time, so I hope to fight him in the future. I think it will be a great fight. This March, it’s going to be wushu versus Muay Thai. And when I face Sage, it’s going to be wushu versus karate.”
With the celebration of its 10th-anniversary, Eduard Folayang was a must to have on the card. It is a special moment for the company, but also for one of its most tried and true stars. It would not feel right without “Landslide” rolling into the Circle for a supreme challenge.
ONE X airs live on watch.onefc.com on Saturday, March 26, at 1:00 a.m. ET/10:00 p.m. PT.
Main Photo:Embed from Getty Images