Issue of July 26, 2020
     
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Stardom hasn’t changed humble fighter Folayang
by ONE release

FAMILY MAN -- Two-time ONE Championship lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang remains humble in spite of his great achievements as an MMA fighter, according to his wife Genevieve, who, along with their two children, supports her husband’s chosen path. -- Contributed photo

Over the last 13 years of his storied mixed martial arts career, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang’s character has not changed one bit – at least according to the woman who knows him best.

Genevieve Folayang watched her mild-mannered husband from Baguio City grow from an unknown athlete to being the face of the Filipino MMA. But away from the action, she still recognizes “Landslide” as the same person she fell in love with.

“He’s never changed. I am proud of him because he never shows off. I expected him to change a bit as he became more famous, but that did not happen. He remained the same person,” Genevieve said.

While the first lady of the Folayang family has been impressed with her husband’s humbleness, she was also surprised by his meteoric rise on the global stage.

The Team Lakay superstar first became the ONE lightweight world champion when he knocked out Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki in November 2016.

Although his reign ended a year later, Folayang has regained the gold belt by defeating Amir Khan for the then vacant title in November 2018.

“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting him to go this far,” Genevieve admits. “But since he did and remained the same, the respect that people have for him, from his friends to his neighbors, rose exponentially.”

The Landslide was not just garnering respect from those in his personal life; he was also getting plenty of it from the ONE Championship matchmakers. That meant he needed to train even more often and be on call for potential showdowns against the promotion’s top lightweight contenders.

But despite being away from his family to pursue his ultimate passion, he has always gotten the support of his wife.

These days, Folayang’s name is often heard in crowds before the snaps of fan photos. While that could be overwhelming for some partners, Genevieve has learned to deal with her husband’s fame quite remarkably.

“We are so proud of him, especially the kids. Our eldest is just three years old and I can see how happy she is when people approach us to take pictures with her dad.”

“A lot of people ask how it feels to be the other half. For me, I am happy,” the wife said.

It’s clear that no matter how far “Landslide” goes in his career, his family will always come first.

 
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