Want to be close with your siblings? Go beat up some people!
That is the story of Malaysia’s latest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Jihin Radzuan, who looks like your typical girl next door but will probably kick your butt if you try to be funny.
The 20-year-old from Johor Baru says her bond with her four sisters and brother has become tighter ever since she got involved in MMA four years ago.
“There is a big age gap so we were not that close when growing up as everyone had their thing,” she explains.
“But they have been very supportive of my career and try their best to attend my fights. It feels good to have them close.”
The “Shadowcat” is ready to impress home fans today when she competes in ONE: Pursuit of Power at Axiata Arena against Indonesia’s Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol.
The soft-spoken veterinary nurse, who is studying towards gaining a degree in that field, made her ONE debut in March when she defeated India’s Pooja Tomar via a second-round submission at ONE: Visions of Victory at the same venue.
“Everything has happened so fast,” says Jihin, who idolises South Korean fighter Sung Ga-yeon.
“I was 16 when I saw Sung in the cage and was blown away.
“I immediately told my eldest sister I wanted to be just like Sung, but she did not entertain the request.
“Perhaps she thought I was too girlish.
“It was my third sister who encouraged me, paying for my initial training as a birthday present.”
Three months after her first training session, Jihin fought and lost in her first bout.
“I did not expect to be fighting so soon but my coach encouraged me to go for it.
“It was an amateur Muay Thai event. Soon after, I picked up BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) and continued honing my skills.
“Not long after, I joined MIMMA (Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts competition).
“In the fourth season (2016), I made it to the final to face the defending champion (Joanna Yap).
Although a little nervous, she fought back the butterflies and won the crown via a decision after a hard-fought five-round bout.
Her stylish victory caught the eye of many and soon, ONE came calling.
Jihin knew it was the right move as ONE had made Ann “Athena” Osman a household name as Malaysia’s first female MMA fighter.
“Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet Ann. She is a trailblazer but has since retired,” says Jihin, who confessed to having a penchant for desserts when she is not training.
“I would love to be like her.”
Jihin, who trains four hours a day, seven days a week, says her dream is to win a world title.
“Ann came close but luck was not on her side.
“I hope to become Malaysia’s first world champion in mixed martial arts.”
On her fight with Priscilla, Jihin says: “It will be close but I feel I have the edge. I’m not going in feeling inferior even though she is a little more experienced than me.
“I always have a positive outlook and hope to gain another victory.”
Come cheer for Jihin and the other Malaysian fighters from 7pm today.