Fans in attendance at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia raised the decibel level throughout the atomweight encounter as their new national hero battled to earn a unanimous decision after three unforgettable rounds.
Jihin Radzuan & Jenny Huang displayed tremendous warrior spirit in Kuala Lumpur!Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, 8 December 2018
Though Jihin is still only 20 years old and was entering just her fourth professional match-up, she was thrust onto the main card for the first time.
She also faced the most experienced opponent of her career in a former ONE Atomweight World Title challenger, who put pressure on her from the opening bell.
Despite this, she appeared to have the best of the opening round, although both “Shadow Cat” and her coach – Ultimate MMA Academy’s ONE veteran Melvin “Overkill” Yeoh – were not satisfied after the first five minutes.
“My coach was asking me how I was doing and telling me I looked nervous in the first round. It wasn’t really good,” she explains.
The second round was a different story, as she found a home for her strikes and defended Huang’s submission attempts well.
Even a triangle choke in the dying seconds of the period, which looked close to ending the contest, did not faze Jihin too much.
“In the second round, I was striking a lot more. I felt at home and the triangle choke she attempted on me did not really make me [need to] tap, although it looked like the bell saved me,” she says.
“Melvin told me I almost got submitted, but I told him I was already trying to escape.”
The final frame sealed the victory for her, but despite the convincing margin, Team Jihin was far from satisfied.
“The first thing I always do is see my coach’s face. He didn’t look too happy and said I could have done way better,” she admits.
“Then, he explained to me what else I could do or what I was doing wrong throughout the 15 minutes.
“He’s never satisfied with my performances, and it keeps me hungrier at all times. My promise to him is to always be a better version of myself.”
Despite their reservations, ONE: DESTINY OF CHAMPIONS was a successful event for the team, and capped an extraordinary year for the FIOGA Wushu World Champion.
Her third ONE Championship victory and fourth overall as a professional has set “Shadow Cat” up for more marquee match-ups in 2019, though she does not want to go too far, too soon.
Jihin is quick to concede she is still new to mixed martial arts, and though she has it in her sights, she is “not rushing” towards a shot at the ONE Atomweight World Title. She wants to continue to face opposition that will push her, and force her to improve, but she is wary of moving too quickly.
Because of that, she will leave her career in the hands of her coach, who will ensure her next assignment allows her to continue on her current trajectory.
“It’s been a great year, especially in terms of my career in and out of the cage. Melvin told me to continue his legacy at the start of 2018, and I think I’ve done well this year,” she says.
“March was my debut, and people have started to know me since. After my family, [he is most important] because he is like a brother and fatherly figure to me. Third are my cats, of course.
“2019 is like a box of surprises to me. I don’t think about what I want to do next year, but I’m looking forward to finishing my studies, and I want to see how it goes from then on.”
Her next test may still be up in the air, but one thing is for sure, there will be a huge demand among Malaysians to see Jihin compete back at home in the new year.
She is certainly on board with that idea.
“Because I’m still young and new, fighting in my hometown is the best thing for me now. I’m so honored to fight in front of my fellow Malaysians,” Jihin says.
However, as this rising superstar continues to evolve and excite fans across Asia, she would also like to broaden her horizons as she moves through the ranks.
The next live event in her homeland is more than seven months away, and there is one dream destination where Jihin would love to compete.
“In 2019, I really hope I get to fight in Tokyo,” she says.
“I’m looking forward to another eventful year with ONE Championship. I love traveling, and I hope I’d get the opportunity to do so soon.”