Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang was impressed with Christian “The Warrior” Lee’s performance against Japanese legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in Singapore on May 17.
Lee defied the odds when he defeated his Evolve teammate with a barrage of punches, resulting in a second-round technical knockout victory in the main event of ONE: Enter the Dragon.
The thrilling win ultimately crowned “The Warrior” as the new ONE Lightweight World Champion at the young age of 20 years old.
It also got Folayang thinking about how the young phenom would fare in the shark tank known as ONE Championship’s lightweight division.
“Reading the comments on social media, I agree with them. It was a masterful performance from Christian Lee. Now it’s all about defending that belt,” the Baguio City native said.
“That’s the challenge of being a champion. Not to discredit what he did against Shinya — that was really impressive — but it’s gonna be a whole lot better if he defends the belt.”
Folayang knows all too well what it’s like to share the Circle with Aoki.
They met for the second time in the main event of ONE: A New Era last March. This time, though, the tables were turned, as Aoki put “Landslide” to sleep with an arm-triangle choke in the opening stanza.
Folayang, though, was surprised with how the Singaporean managed to escape the Japanese legend’s submission attempts. He also shared that his old rival did not seem to be his usual self that evening.
“We all know how good Christian is on the ground, but Shinya’s grappling is on a different level,” the 35-year-old said.
“It’s just kind of surprising that when Lee escaped the armbar, there wasn’t a counter-attack from Shinya. If you know Shinya, he’s always ready for his next move.”
For now, Folayang is willing to take whatever path he must in order to get another crack at the ONE Lightweight World Championship.
But if given the choice, he would also love to test his mettle against the new titleholder, who Aoki touted as a ‘young lion’ prior to their respective contest.
“It’s just a matter of time. If we get that chance once again, why not? If I need a couple of more wins to reach that, of course, I’m open to it,” the Filipino icon said.
“The reason why Shinya wanted to face Christian Lee is that he wants to face the aggression of an up-and-coming fighter. That’s what I’m feeling as well. He’s the ‘young lion.’ I want to face that young lion.”