Folayang stays with ONE Championship, signs two-year deal

Nissi Icasiano
Folayang will return to action with ONE Championship after not being extended an offer to fight on the UFC's second Manila show

STAYING PUT. Eduard Folayang will stay with ONE. File photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Homegrown talent Eduard Folayang will remain as a ONE Championship fighter as he opted to sign an exclusive deal with the Singapore-based mixed martial arts (MMA) organization.

Ric Auty, ONE Championship’s senior manager of athlete services, confirmed to Rappler that Folayang will still be part of the promotion’s growing roster.

“I can let you know that Eduard is still a ONE Championship-signed athlete. He has [signed] a multi-fight, multi-year contract with ONE,” he said.

Folayang confirmed Auty’s statement and revealed that he inked a brand new two-year contract with ONE Championship, but he refused to divulge more details due to confidentiality.

“The new contract will be two years, but I cannot disclose such information [as to how many fights]. It is a confidential info in the agreement,” Folayang told Rappler.

Auty confided that Folayang should see action soon, but he declined to forego more information until the official announcement has been made.

ONE Championship’s next event will be on August 13 in Macau, China, but no bouts have been announced as of the moment.

“[Folayang] will be returning to action very soon,” Auty teased.

Folayang underwent a negotiation period with ONE Championship as the MMA company invoked its “right to match” clause after his multi-fight agreement expired last March.

The 32-year-old Baguio City native has spent 5 years of his 20-fight professional career with ONE Championship.

In addition, Folayang has been a ONE Championship competitor since the company’s inception in 2011 and has fought 8 of his last 10 outings under the promotion’s umbrella.

Folayang’s name has been floated as one of the logical options in the Asian MMA circuit to be booked for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s second live event in the Philippines on October 15.

Widely regarded as the face of Philippine MMA, Folayang rose to prominence in the Universal Reality Combat Championship, where he captured the organization’s welterweight belt and listed 7 impressive victories with 4 coming by way of first-round knockout.

In ONE Championship, Folayang owns notable triumphs over the likes of A-Sol Kwon, Felipe Enomoto, Vincent Latoel, Kotetsu Boku and Tetsuya Yamada.

As Folayang’s free agency loomed, ONE Championship chose to exercise its right to match contract offers to the renowned Filipino stalwart from different MMA promotions.

Folayang was vocal with his desire of fighting on the card dubbed as “UFC Fight Night Manila 2,” but he disclosed that the world’s premier MMA organization did not extend a proposal.

“No, they (UFC) did not. There was nothing,” the 5-foot-9 Team Lakay representative said.

Folayang stressed that he did not have any difficulty in deciding to stay with ONE Championship as he believes in its mission and objective.

“I believe ONE Championship can make a tremendous growth in the coming years. I was there when the inauguration took place in 2011, so I want to see the growth and development in the coming years,” Folayang said.

Although Folayang is not closing the door on the opportunity to strut his wares inside UFC’s famed Octagon, he would rather concentrate on the remaining tasks ahead of him in ONE Championship.

“I don’t know. As for now, my focus is on my new contract so I can perform well in my best abilities and to keep improving,” Folayang stated. – Rappler.com