Ask former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard "Landslide" Folayang what keeps him going in mixed martial arts, and his answer is very simple: there are still more challenges to pursue.
Being the face of Philippine mixed martial arts for nearly a decade now, and having won the biggest prize in ONE Championship twice already, Folayang isn't content with kicking back and enjoying the rewards of his success.
The 35-year-old remains as hungry and motivated as ever, especially with the division he once ruled growing rapidly.
"I am in a stacked division, and I am really motivated seeing all these hungry lions who want to make a name in the division," Folayang said.
"That's what drives me to do my part, that in the next few bouts I still get to show what I'm really made of."
One look at the division's top names and you will understand where Folayang is coming from. There are still matches to pursue, scores to settle, and a whole lot of things to prove as the division deepens.
From young guns like reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian "The Warrior" Lee to current number-one contender Iuri Lapicus to heavy hitting Saygid Guseyn "Dagi" Arslanaliev, there are no shortage of matchups for Folayang.
Then there's the prospect of closing out the trilogy between him and Japanese legend Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki, or even a rematch with Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez, someone who many felt Folayang was beating before a costly mistake changed the tide for the Filipino.
With that in mind, Folayang is confident that he can still hang with the best of them.
"I truly believe that you can only say that you're done when you cannot hang with them anymore, when you look at the results and it's not that close anymore," Folayang said. "As for me, I believe I still have a long way to go."
In order for that to materialize, the soft-spoken Team Lakay star is working double-time within the allowed parameters of the local government as he patiently waits for ONE to call.
"We really made sure to continue training because that's basically our lifestyle now," Folayang said.
"What we did is we turned the gym into an exclusive hub for the pro athletes so we can continue to train despite the pandemic."
The uncertainty stemming from the pandemic might make it hard for some athletes, but Folayang believes there's no better time to show what he's made of than in a time of a crisis.
"Of course, there'd be times when you'd feel lazy, especially when you feel like nothing's really happening. There's still no clear fight to look forward to and I think that's the most negative effect of the lengthy break - but you have to keep going," he said.
Catch ONE: REIGN OF DYNASTIES next Friday, October 9. Watch the show on One Sports or One Sports+ at 8:30 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (PHT) or on the ONE Super App.
TV5 will air the event on a next-day delay at 11 p.m. PHT on Saturday, October 10.