Aoki wants to be Folayang's 'retirement fight' — 'We can still do this'


Posted at Dec 06 2022 05:41 PM

Handout photo
Handout photo

After former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang suffered another tough loss in mixed martial arts, fans are asking him to consider hanging up his gloves. 

However, Japanese MMA icon Shinya Aoki wants one last dance with the Filipino before he draws the curtains on his storied career. 

Folayang dropped a knockout loss to Brazilian Edson Marques at ONE Fight Night 5 over the weekend, and old foe Aoki sent him these words: 

"We can still do this. You deserve to decide what to do next because it's your life, but I would like to say to him I believe we can continue this sport,” Aoki said. 

Aoki and Folayang shared some memorable moments in the ONE Championship Circle, with the Filipino winning his first ever World Title at the expense of the Japanese man back in 2016 – easily the highest point of Folayang’s career. 

Aoki got him back with a couple of first-round submission victories, but the 39-year-old MMA legend believes that Folayang deserves to go out in his own way, considering the doors that he kicked open for MMA in the Philippines. 

In fact, Aoki already has an idea on who Folayang should face if he decides to go out with a retirement bout. 

"He's the first MMA star in the Philippines. I believe he [can] still fight,” he said. 

“And if there's a last match for him, I would like to fight with him. We had fights in Singapore and Tokyo, so next time should be in Manila." 

Just to prove that he’s serious, the Japanese submission genius plans to head up to the mountains and connect with Folayang and the rest of the Team Lakay guys. 

"Great job, Folayang,” he said. “I will go to Baguio to meet you next month."