“Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman is a man who thrives on opportunity.
When ONE Championship called him last November with an opportunity to compete at ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT against China’s Yang Fei on two weeks’ notice, the Malaysian did not hesitate for a second. He immediately accepted the match.
The gamble paid off, as Aiman entertained the masses with a highly-energetic performance, and earned a unanimous decision victory.
“I felt good about that contest,” the 23-year-old says.
“I was a little bit tired because I was training pretty hard every single day, even before I knew I was going to compete. Even though I took it on really short notice, I felt good about it.”
Not every martial artist is willing to take those kind of risky situations when a short notice contest is offered, but “Jungle Cat” has a different attitude than most when a situation like that arises.
Aiman’s philosophy is that he always stays ready.
“I always have that mindset,” he continues.
“I will always take a short notice bout, especially if I am training twice a day consistently. I trust my teammates. If they say I can compete, I will compete.
“That is one of the reasons I took that match-up. I trust my teammates with that. They said I was in shape and I could do it, so I just did it.”
As further evidence of the Malaysian’s willingness to take on all challenges, his next contest will take place in the bantamweight division rather than flyweight. The switch in weight class, however, is nothing new to him.
Aiman, a former MIMMA Featherweight Champion, admits he has never been a fan of dieting and weight control, so bantamweight is the place where he feels the best.
“I [plan to] always compete at bantamweight now,” he says.
“I went down to flyweight. I am not sure why, but I do not want to go there again. I did a couple of weight cuts myself, and I know weight cutting is definitely not for me. I might be a little bit smaller [compared to the rest of the division], but I feel so much better. Now, I will be able to compete [at my best].”
For his next trip to the cage, Aiman has been given a full training camp in preparation for his bout with Cambodia’s Rin Saroth at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY, which emanates from the Axiata Arena in his old hometown of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Saroth, a 24-year-old who trains out of the Phnom Penh-based Cambodian Top Team, is a Kun Khmer specialist with over 130 Kun Khmer bouts to his name, with 110 wins.
After transitioning to the cage, he made it to the finals of the Khmer Warrior Championship, and displayed a dynamic performance in his ONE Championship debut back in December 2015, when he submitted fellow compatriot Mission Ali at ONE: KINGDOM OF KHMER.
Aiman feels his knowledge and his natural ability to blend the arts will serve as the difference-maker in this upcoming clash against Saroth in Malaysia.
“Rin is tough, but I feel like he is a little inexperienced in the cage,” Aiman explains. “I feel like I am going to finish him in whatever way possible — submission, TKO, or knockout. I always go in there to compete, and I take what is given to me.”
Also, he promises to live up to his “Jungle Cat” moniker by delivering a thrilling performance. Aiman has always entertained the masses with his aggressive pace and explosive style. He also has the tendency to pull out new tricks from his skill set. For instance, in his bout with Yang, he flashed a few cartwheel kicks.
“I always try to make all of my matches exciting,” he says. “I do not know with what yet, but I promise you it will be exciting.”
Kuala Lumpur | 9 March | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onevisions18