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(C) Nissi Icasiano

Mixed Martial Arts

Cris Cyborg still sees hope in Eduard Folayang reviving his career

It cannot be denied that Eduard Folayang is at a crucial juncture in his professional mixed martial arts career.

As he strives to revitalize his once-glorious stature in the all-encompassing sport, the Filipino superstar has received a much-needed vote of confidence from none other than Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

Justino needs no introduction to hardcore fans as she is regarded as one of the greatest female mixed martial artists in history, having won world championships in promotions such as the UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce, and Invicta FC.

The pioneer of women’s MMA recently invited Folayang and stablemate Joshua Pacio, who have extended their excursion in the United States for four more weeks, to her gym in Huntington Beach, California.

It can be recalled that “Cyborg” was one of the few who immediately reached out to Folayang on social media when the latter formally announced his shocking departure from Team Lakay last March.

With Folayang and Pacio choosing to spend their remaining weeks in the sunny state of California following a month-long sojourn at the famed Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she was glad to host both men for a training session.

“They went to the U.S. to train, and I felt this was the opportunity to invite them to the gym so we can train together,” the reigning Bellator women’s featherweight champion told Tiebreaker Times.

“Eduard, he’s an amazing athlete. He’s a champion. It was a real pleasure to have him in the gym. He’s a Christian too, like me, and our training together was just amazing. It’s an amazing opportunity to have them here.”

Justino was admittedly blown away by the two-time ONE lightweight titleholder’s physical condition. “As for Eduard, he’s 39 years old, and I’m getting close to that, being 37 myself. But he’s really good and is in good shape for his age,” she stated.

“He’s really motivated me to continue to work hard and upgrade my striking arsenal every day. It was amazing to be together and share a little bit [of knowledge] with one another.”

However, “Cyborg” is well aware that Folayang is in a challenging situation at the moment.

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The beloved Baguio City native has lost five consecutive matches in MMA from 2020 to 2022, prompting fans and pundits to question if it’s time for him to hang up the gloves for good. Recognizing the unyielding determination that Folayang possesses, “Cyborg” commended “Landslide” for exerting all the necessary effort to put him on the path to redemption.

“It’s really important that you upgrade your game and keep on learning new things before you aim for the top,” Justino mentioned. “When you lose a fight, it’s time to think about what you have to improve. Our sport is evolving every single time, and people get better every time too.

“When you fight, people watch you, study you [to find ways] to beat you.”

“Cyborg” firmly believes that Folayang has a lot more to offer as a competitor before he decides to call it a day.

“You know, this is one of the things that is really a personal choice and decision. I believe you guys cannot just say how you feel about him based on his last couple of fights. I think he has a lot left to do in the sport,” she said.

“A fighter’s life is really difficult. Sometimes you have a good moment in your career, sometimes you face a hard moment. But this is why we’re fighters. We continue fighting to overcome [difficulties] every day. I believe if he continues training and working to get better at his craft, there’s a lot left for him in his future.”

Written By

Nissi Icasiano is a sportswriter, analyst and editor from the Philippines. He started his professional career in 2013. He has also written for various media outlets such as, ABS-CBN, Tiebreaker Times,,, South China Morning Post, The Phnom Penh Post and the International Business Times. In 2017, he started a career as a Combat Sports Analyst for television and radio, appearing on various news shows for ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM, PTV 4, Business World, Radyo Pilipinas 2 and Bombo Radyo Philippines. He practices boxing at Tiger City Boxing Gym whenever he is not writing.

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