Jihin Radzuan has quickly become one of the biggest names to emerge from the Malaysian mixed martial arts scene in the past two years.
With a comforting smile to match her in-ring expertise, the atomweight star’s fanbase has rapidly grown.
However, much to her chagrin, supporters originally remember the Johor Bahru native by her intriguing moniker, “Shadow Cat” — which is something that irked her at the beginning of her journey.
“To be honest, I wasn’t happy when everyone started calling me by that name. I found it annoying,” the 20-year-old admits. “But after some time, I started to love it. In fact, I find it unique now.”
The "Shadow Cat" Jihin Radzuan returns home ???????? on 12 July to take on tough and tenacious Filipina Jomary Torres! ????: Kuala Lumpur | 12 July | 7PM | ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY????: Get your tickets at ???? http://bit.ly/onemastersofdestiny19????: Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp ????????: Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, June 19, 2019
The nickname was bestowed upon her by Melvin “Overkill” Yeoh, a former ONE Championship athlete and her head coach at Ultimate MMA Academy.
According to the atomweight sensation, Yeoh has a habit of naming every athlete based on their respective performances in the ring.
Jihin was a fast learner and very agile, and she has an undying love for cats. Thus, the name “Shadow Cat” was born.
The Johor Bahru native — who is scheduled to face Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres at ONE: MASTERS OF DESTINY inside the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 12 July — feels the moniker has transformed her into the character she is today.
“The nickname was given to me by Melvin during season four of MIMMA in 2016. He likes to give everyone a nickname, even athletes who are not his students,” she jokes.
Jihin dominated the tournament with a couple of dynamic submission wins, and then went on to capture the MIMMA Women’s Flyweight Championship in the final.
Soon thereafter, her unique nickname started to stick within the local community. Her ability to scramble away from tight situations such as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mount with ease resembled that of a cat escaping an attack from a fellow feline.
“People used to make fun of me for having a cute name,” she says.
“But the more I got into this fight business, the more I realized that this was how they remembered me. I guess it’s also easier for people to memorize a nickname rather than an actual name.
“Sometimes, I even bump into fans who ask me, ‘Hey, are you that shadow cat girl on television?’ It’s cute. Even my Chinese fans or friends refer to me as ‘Huanying Mao,’ which means ‘Shadow Cat.’”
The atomweight’s love for cats grew in a similar fashion.
When she was a kid, Jihin was allergic to their fur. But as she got older, her fascination for felines blossomed.
Following her high school graduation, she became a veterinary nurse in a clinic in Johor Bahru, and now, she proudly owns four cats and is the godmother to a pair of felines at Ultimate MMA Academy.
“I loved cats since I was a very little girl, but I was allergic to them,” she explains. “Whenever I went near cats, my face would get itchy. It got so bad at times, I’d sneeze blood.”
Jihin has since learned to balance both roles well, and she hopes it leads to an entrepreneurial career when she eventually hangs up her gloves one day.
“I’ve always dreamed of opening a veterinary clinic when I cannot compete anymore. Or who knows, someday I might have my own brand of merchandise dubbed the ‘Shadow Cat,’” she offers.
“I believe cats and I are somehow spiritually linked together. I can understand them, and they understand my language, too.”