For Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan, 2019 was a mixed bag.
The Malaysian darling earned a massive first-round submission victory over Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres, but she also suffered a pair of narrow decision losses to top contenders Gina “Conviction” Iniong and Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga.
Instead of letting those setbacks weigh her down, the 21-year-old Johor Bahru native is using them to spring herself forward and shoot up the women’s atomweight ranks in the coming year.
As 2019 winds down, Jihin takes this opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months. Also, she looks ahead to the future.
ONE Championship: How was your 2019, both inside and outside of the Circle?
Jihin Radzuan: It was a year of ups and downs. Sometimes it was good and sometimes it was just bad, but the experiences definitely made me more mature.
In my personal life, I had a lot of down moments. Sometimes I made the wrong decisions, and only later on, I realized, ’Oh, how can I be so dumb?’ In the Circle, the two losses affected my mental toughness.
My mental [game] is not so tough — I’m the last one in the family. Since I was a kid, people always told me what to do, so I don’t give many orders. That childhood experience made me a bit of a shy person, and it didn’t help to build a better mental strength for me.
I can’t control my emotions well, but I am getting better at it. I have to work on my mental toughness if I want to kickstart my career again.
ONE: Do you think your two losses allowed you to build a tougher mental game?
JR: Inside the Circle, there are only three people – your opponent, you, and the referee. No matter what happens, whether I win or lose, tomorrow is going to be a different day.
If I win, of course, I cannot feel too overwhelmed or be too excited because there is always someone who is better than you out there.
When I lose, I cannot be too sad. Losses are something I don’t come across very often, so I’m learning every day how to improve the way I look at these situations.
???????? MALAYSIA REPRESENT ????????Jihin Radzuan sends the hometown crowd into a meltdown with a TIGHT triangle choke submission victory over Jomary Torres!????: Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ????http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
Posted by ONE Championship on Friday, 12 July 2019
ONE: If you could list one moment as your highlight of the year, what would it be?
JR: I’d have to go with the win against Jomary Torres in Kuala Lumpur in July. The journey began with a tough training camp, and the result couldn’t have come out any better.
I was pretty impressed with myself because that was the second time I fought in the ring in ONE, and I didn’t struggle with the difference between the ring and the cage.
Every win in Kuala Lumpur is memorable because we [Malaysian heroes] always have the fans behind us inside the Axiata Arena.
It was a special moment, too, because it has been a while since I’ve finished my opponents. To do so against someone like Torres, that was the icing on the cake. It meant a lot to me as I returned to the winner’s circle, too.
ONE: In your opinion, who were the standout mixed martial artists in the women’s atomweight division this year?
JR: My pick is Itsuki Hirata. She has been good so far, winning all of her matches this year. Both of them came by submission, and it shows you that she is a very talented fighter who can only get better.
ONE: Let’s talk about 2020. What are your thoughts on the women’s atomweight division as a whole moving forward?
JR: There are a lot of new talents, and I cannot think that I’m one of the strongest ones here anymore. Of course, I cannot look down on myself either. But sometimes you cannot think of yourself too highly, as it can easily bring you down. I have to work hard to get back on track.
ONE: When do you see yourself competing next?
JR: My coach Melvin Yeoh handles all my fights, so we’ve got a feeling [the matchmakers] might offer me a fight by the end of February, hopefully.
ONE: Lastly, what are your goals for the coming year?
JR: I hope that I can compete at least four times next year – one match every quarter of the year would be perfect. My ambition as a professional athlete next year is to win all my fights, which will put me closer towards the top of the division.