World lightweight champion Eduard Folayang vowed not to underestimate featherweight king Martin Nguyen when the two clash inside the ONE Championship cage in a cross-divisional battle dubbed “Legends of the World” card on November 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The historic match inside the cage will be a first for ONE Championship where the champions from two different weight classes clash.
“Martin [Nguyen] is a great martial artist and an amazing competitor. He has earned the highest degree of my respect. There is absolutely no chance that I am coming into this bout underestimating him,” Folayang said in a statement.
“I am prepared for the best Martin Nguyen possible, one that has no weaknesses. This bout will be talked about long after it is finished, as two champions face-off inside the cage. I live for these challenges, and I am motivated for victory, for the pride and honor of the Philippines.”
The 32-year-old Folayang will be defending his world title for the second time inside 7 months.
The pride of Team Lakay from Baguio scored a unanimous decision against challenger EV Ting last April before over 16,000 Filipino fans at the Mall of Asia Arena.
And he intends to do the same against Nguyen, who took the world featherweight division title after defeating Marat Gafurov last August.
Nguyen sees his upcoming world title fight as “strictly business”.
“I said to myself I did not want to compete against someone I like and take away their glory, but opportunities like this do not come around too often,” he said. “And, if I refused to do this, someone else was going to compete against him and take his glory. So it is strictly business. I am in a super bout for the first time ever in ONE Championship history to become a two-division champion. This match is not going to go the distance.”
After nearly a decade of competing in various promotions, Folayang has amassed an impressive 18-5 professional record. The Filipino fighter is currently riding a four-bout winning streak against high-profile opponents, including an emphatic technical knockout victory over Japanese legend Shinya Aoki to capture the ONE Lightweight World Championship in November 2016.