The Malaysian phenom faced off against Itsuki Hirata at the organization’s 10-year anniversary showcase last month, with many pundits favoring the then-undefeated Japanese star.
For her part, Hirata declared that she wouldn’t have any issues defeating the fighter nicknamed “Shadow Cat,” but that statement backfired drastically.
Across three hard-fought rounds, Jihin extinguished her rival’s judo tricks with impressive escapes while dominating both the striking and grappling exchanges.
That earned her a decision win from the judges and handed the Tokyo native her first professional loss – a huge accomplishment for the 23-year-old.
She told ONE Championship:
“I didn’t hold any grudge, nor did I have anything against [Hirata] when she told me stuff like she’s going to kill me or what, because I think she said that out [for] publicity or [used it as] ways to promote the fight during the Japan press conference.
“Of course, the win was even more significant because a lot of people claim that she’s [one of the best], and I showed people that this wasn’t the case.”
Following their contest, Jihin could have fired back with comments of her own, but she chose to remain humble.
The young mixed martial artist is happy to let her performance do most of the talking – and it certainly spoke volumes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“Shadow Cat” said:
“For me, right, actions are more important than words. I don’t have to explain to people that I’m going to shut her down in the Circle or what. I just let my effort, strategy, and the win answer it.
“We (Ultimate MMA Head Coach Melvin Yeoh and Jihin) already expected what she was going to do, and we put high effort [and focus] on preparing for her. We never took her as an easy task.”
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Regardless of who she faces, “Shadow Cat” wants to prove that she’s indeed one of the brightest young stars in MMA today.
“I can’t beg for respect from people, but what I can do is to continuously prove them wrong in the Circle. Given now that I’m in the top-five rankings, I’m not far from the belt fight. So I think in about four or five fights, more people can start acknowledging and respecting my skills.”