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How Jihin Radzuan Plans To Claim The Atomweight World Title

August 04, 2018

Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan is not ashamed to admit she was nervous when she was offered a bout against surging atomweight contender Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER.

For her third professional mixed martial arts contest, the 19-year-old Malaysian expected to face an athlete with a similar amount of experience on the global stage for martial arts.

Instead, she was offered a shot at Lumban Gaol.

The Indonesian wushu specialist, who is 11 years Radzuan’s senior, had five bouts in ONE Championship, and had won her previous three bouts in the first round to emerge in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title picture.

“At first, when ONE Championship offered the fight, me and my coach (Melvin Yeoh) hesitated to take the fight,” reveals Radzuan, who trains at Ultimate MMA Academy in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

“We just thought they were going to give me somebody new, or with the same experience as me, but when they gave me Priscilla, me and my coach were like, ‘This one is quite a tough opponent.’

“It was up to me if I wanted to accept it or not. He told me to think about it for a day or so, but I just said, ‘Nevermind, I will take it. I will take whatever fight to test myself.’”

In March, Radzuan experienced some butterflies before her promotional debut at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY. It was the first time she competed under the bright lights in the ONE cage, and she wanted to make a strong impression.

The teenager accomplished that objective by submitting Indian Wushu Champion Puja Tomar via triangle choke halfway into round two.

Despite that experience, those butterflies revisited “Shadow Cat” in her next bout at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER in July.

Radzuan had even more trepidation about stepping inside the ONE cage with a veteran like Lumban Gaol. However, once she began to flex her outstanding grappling game, she was able to end the Indonesian’s successful streak with several near-submissions.

“I had more nerves than for my fight with Puja, but after the second round, I got more comfortable, and I could do it all well,” the Malaysian says.

“For this fight [with Priscilla], me and my coach planned to stand with her and strike. I just got nervous, and I tried to take her down.

“I expected the fight to go three rounds. It is nothing different from what I thought. I wanted to strike more, and I wanted to finish her, but being able to dominate her was better. It fills me with pride.”

After 15 minutes of action, Radzuan earned a unanimous decision win to improve her professional record to an unblemished 3-0. Perhaps even more important was the message “Shadow Cat” sent to the millions of people watching around the globe.

“I wanted to show everybody that, as a female fighter and a Malaysian training at a local gym, I could go against the big names,” she says.

“This fight was important for me, because I needed to show people that a local fighter can compete at the international level. Also, maybe now some people can get to know me.”

In victory, Radzuan has likely positioned herself for a match-up with another atomweight star when she returns to action later in the year.

The teen sensation, however, is not ready to jump too far ahead. She wants to steadily climb the ranks, continue to develop her skills, and, when the time is right, challenge for the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship.

“I want to take it slow,” she says.

“Every fight [ONE Championship] offers me, I am going to take it. I am not going to choose any opponent. Slowly, step by step, I will get into title contention.

“I want people to know me by my ability. I can go to the ground and I can strike. I need to go step by step. I need to meet the best of the best in the atomweight division, and then climb up to the championship belt.”