When “Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman got the call for his next ONE Championship match, he did not recognize the name of his opponent right away.
Muhammad Aiman does have a mighty body kick!Kuala Lumpur | 9 March | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onevision18
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, March 2, 2018
Like all of his previous contests, the Malaysian quickly accepted the bout, and then started researching the man he will face at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON on Saturday, 8 September, in Shanghai, China.
After a quick search on his phone, the 23-year-old saw his rival’s iconic moniker, which jumpstarted his memory. He instantly realized he knew his opponent, and was thrilled about the pairing.
“I was really excited, because he is tough, and he has a good name. He is undefeated, and I always thought I would fight him one day.
“It is going to be tough, but it is going to be a war. I am going to keep going, and he is going to keep going, so I am really excited to fight him.”
While the Bali MMA-trained bantamweight is excited every time he steps into the ONE cage, he claims to be even more motivated to compete after his last performance.
In March, he defeated Cambodia’s Rin Saroth via unanimous decision at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY in a dominant performance, in which he put on his most impressive display of grappling so far in his career. However, he was not satisfied with his work that night.
“I felt good, but I did not feel great,” Muhammad admits.
“Before that fight, I really wanted to finish him, and I think I really could have, but I was holding back a little bit. I was a little disappointed that I did not get the finish.
“I always want to perform, and I always want a memorable fight – win or lose. That is the only fight where I felt like I could have done more, and given you guys more. But, at the end of the night, I won the fight, so I was happy.”
Muhammad is confident he will put on a memorable show with “Rock Man,” who comes with a thrilling reputation.
Chen – a Shanghai Open BJJ Champion with a background in boxing and Muay Thai – has an all-action style. All of the wins on his spotless 8-0 record have come by way of knockout or submission.
Most recently, at ONE: SPIRIT OF A WARRIOR in June, the Chinese athlete also showed tremendous resilience to overcome Ahmad Qais Jasoor’s near-knockout, and defeat the Afghan via TKO in the third round.
“Jungle Cat” has been studying up on Chen’s skill set ahead of his trip to the Baoshan Arena, and though he sees a lot of strengths in his opponent’s game, he has noticed some things he can take advantage of.
“I feel like he is really strong, and he is good on the ground,” the Malaysian acknowledges.
“He is strong once he gets you down, and he uses his strength to put you down, but I feel like there are still a couple of holes that I can expose. He kind of gassed out in one fight, so I will try to break him down.”
Though Muhammad is keeping his strategy close to his chest, he believes two of his best weapons can lead to Chen’s undoing – his eclectic stand-up arsenal and his incredible cardio.
“I can beat him with my striking, and expose that his conditioning is bad. I feel like I can make him tired, but not make myself tired,” he says. “That is how I want to beat him.”
Muhammad would love nothing more than to become the first person to defeat, and finish, the Chinese athlete. He knows that will be a difficult task — especially since he is competing in front of his adversary’s countrymen in Shanghai.
However, should he succeed, it would be the biggest victory of the Malaysian’s career so far.
“I want to go in there and prove to myself that I can beat a top guy in my weight class,” he adds. “It is very important to me, and I am really excited.”
Shanghai | 8 September | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast