MANILA — Eduard Folayang has been friends with Australia’s Martin Nguyen for more that a year now.
But they will have to forget that on Friday night when Nguyen challenges the Filipino fighter for his ONE lightweight title in the main event of ONE: Legends of the World at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Siyempre he’s here to take away your hard-earned legacy. Hindi naman ako papayag na ganoon,” Folayang said in the final press conference held at City of Dreams in Pasay City on Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, you’re just doing your part as a martial artist. Pagkatapos nun nandoon pa rin ‘yung respect.”
Nguyen feels the same way.
The reigning ONE featherweight champion said they will meet inside the cage as professionals.
“It’s not going to affect me at all. We’ve come to a decision that we put our friendship aside,” said the “Situ-Asian.”
“As true martial artists, we’re going head-to-head against each other.”
It will be a superfight between Folayang and Nguyen, who recently wrested the featherweight crown from Marat Gafurov. Folayang’s belt will be on the line.
The two first met during their one-week stay in Los Angeles, shortly after Folayang won the lightweight title by stopping Shinya Aoki.
“Okay ang samahan namin sa one week namin sa LA. Easy to get along naman si Martin,” said Folayang.
But in the world of MMA, he noted that there are times that you will have to face even the closest of friends.
“’Yung pagkakaibigan naman nandiyan ‘yan e. May mga mag-asawa ngang nagkakahiwalay, nagte-text pa din,” quipped the “Landslide.”
Meanwhile, ONE Championship vice president and former MMA champion Rich Franklin praised Folayang, saying he reminds him of another legendary fighter.
“When I look at Eduard, it’s almost like a passing of torch from Manny Pacquiao to Eduard Folayang,” he said.
“Looking at Eduard, he definitely fits the shoe.”
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