But of all the legendary martial artists he faced over the years, Folayang said the hardest one to conquer was himself.
“I believe the biggest opponent that I have faced is myself,” Folayang said.
“It’s yourself that needs to be conquered first, whether you believe you can win or not. I think that’s one of the hardest things to conquer.
“Even as a human being, or as a martial artist, yourself is your biggest opponent. You really have to master yourself, put yourself in the right perspective, and [have] the right principles to live by.”
It was in 2014 when his internal war started.
Folayang was on a surge, dominating his last two opponents to put himself in a prime position to contend for the ONE Lightweight World Title. He only needed to hurdle one man – Timofey Nastyukhin.
Around that time, the Russian was relatively unknown to fans as he was just making his debut in The Home Of Martial Arts. And since Folayang was competing in front of his compatriots, the expectations for “Landslide” were high.
But it was Folayang who ended up on the wrong end of a highlight-reel finish.
After feeling each other out for a majority of the first round, Nastyukhin soared in with a thunderous flying knee that connected flush on Folayang’s jaw.
For Folayang, that was the start of a year-long internal battle.
“That kicked in when I wasn’t able to fight at all in 2015 after my knockout loss to Timofey (Nastyukhin).”
“Of course, after a year, there are a lot of things running in my head about my future. I was thinking since I was sidelined for a year, should I still continue this?
“Then I was given a fight in January, then that sort of turned things around. I was not the champion at that time, there were doubts. I was thinking a lot, I was worried, and I was contemplating if I’m still doing the right things.”
The moment “Landslide” conquered those doubts, he finally went after his dreams.
Getting wins over Tetsuya "MMA Fantasista" Yamada and Adrian “The Hunter” Pang, Folayang got his dream of competing for the ONE Lightweight World Title against Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in November of 2016.
Folayang defeated the Japanese legend to become the third Filipino to win a World Title in ONE Championship.
“Thank God that I was able to set my mind straight, that those are just challenges that I had to hurdle for me to become an excellent martial artist,” he said.
That stretch not only turned Folayang into a World Champion, he believes it made him a better person.
“I still bring that mindset to date. At least now when I am losing, I’m not that negative anymore. No matter the things that come, I’m still positive,” Folayang said.
“That’s my foundation now, that if I was able to overcome it in the past, we can still do it in the future.”