On 16 February, the Filipina became the first person to defeat rising Malaysian star Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan inside the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
The three-round encounter saw Iniong dominate the contest in all areas, but a late surge from the 20-year-old Ultimate MMA Academy product almost turned the match around.
Gina Iniong uses all her tools to grind out a split-decision victory over the previously unbeaten Jihin Radzuan!Watch the full event on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast
Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, February 16, 2019
When the final bell sounded though, it was “Conviction” whose hand was raised via a split decision.
In the aftermath of the event, the six-time Philippine Wushu Champion reflects on her emotional win, which she dedicated to her ailing mother, and looks into her future in The Home Of Martial Arts.
ONE Championship: Jihin Radzuan came into the contest as one of the hottest contenders in the division. Did she worry you at all?
Gina Iniong: I was really looking forward to facing her precisely because she is undefeated, and I wanted to be the first one to put a blemish on her record.
ONE: Jihin is a wushu World Champion, with a dangerous grappling game – so how did you plan to take her on?
GI: The game plan was to keep the match on our feet, because that’s where I excel.
I also watched her previous matches, where I learned that she’s not too keen on standing and I thought my striking skills were more refined than hers.
I made it a point to keep my distance, and I actually gained confidence thinking about all my previous bouts. I was really determined to win this one.
ONE: What preparations did you make to ensure you would stay safe on the ground?
GI: I watched all of her matches. One of her tendencies is to take her opponent’s head for a choke, so Coach told me to improve my defense and my rolls. Thankfully, it worked out well.
ONE: What was going through your mind when Jihin took your back and attacked at the end of the match?
GI: I think there were only seconds remaining. Her feet were firmly locked, but in my mind, the match was almost over, so I kept trying to catch her hands to neutralize them and let the clock tick away.
When I heard the 10-second warning, I held onto her hands to keep her from doing anything else as a last resort.
ONE: Did you think you had done enough to win?
GI: Right after the bell, I immediately asked Coach if I won, and he said I got the win. I kept asking him, and he said I had better scores, so I was a bit relieved.
When it was announced that it was a split, my heart raced. I was praying that my hand would be raised. I was really nervous that I might share the same fate as Geje [Eustaquio] and Joshua [Pacio], but I finally relaxed when I was declared the winner.
ONE: Who do you want to face next?
GI: To be honest, I really want to take on Mei Yamaguchi. I hope I get to take her on in my next match for a trilogy match because, if I’m not mistaken, she’s still the top contender for the World Title.
I really want to get my chance at the World Title, but before I get to do that, I want to earn it by defeating the top contender.