Jihin Radzuan is just 20 years old and could be on the cusp of a ONE Championship title shot. She also won a tournament during her amateur days but the Johor Bahru based atomweight feels she still has plenty of work to do.

Radzuan beat former title challenger Jenny Huang by decision last weekend at ONE: ‘Destiny of Champions’. It looked like a fairly comfortable win for the Malaysian and there was no doubt who the winner would be when the bell rang to end the final round.

Yet the undefeated atomweight is not particularly proud of this performance. In fact she says her coach, Melvin Yeoh, felt that his young protegee could have done better.

“My coach was asking me how I was doing and telling me I looked nervous in the first round. It wasn’t really good. In the second round I was striking a lot more (and) I felt at home.”

Room for improvement

At the end of the second stanza Huang, a submission specialist, attempted a triangle choke. Radzuan appeared to have the situation under control but apparently her corner was seriously concerned.

“It looked like the bell saved me (but) the triangle choke she attempted on me did not really make me tap. Melvin told me I almost got submitted but I told him I was already trying to escape.”

Most camps would regard a win over a former title challenger as a good night’s work but Radzuan’s coach feels she could have performed better.

“The first thing I always do is see my coach’s face. He didn’t look too happy and said I could have done way better. He’s never satisfied with my performances, and it keeps me hungrier at all times. My promise to him is to always be a better version of myself.”

A good year

Even her harshest critic could not suggest that Radzuan’s career was going badly. Her record stands at 4-0 and she has won three fights out of three for Asia’s biggest MMA promotion so the 20 year old is understandably upbeat,

“It’s been a great year, especially in terms of my career in and out of the cage. Melvin told me to continue his legacy at the start of 2018, and I think I’ve done well this year,” she says.

Yeoh is a ONE Championship veteran himself and a huge influence on Radzuan. She says he plays a huge role in her life.

“He is like a brother and fatherly figure to me,” she said.

The past year has been very good for Radzuan. She didn’t make her ONE Championship debut until March but has already emerged as a top contender in the atomweight division.

“Since my (ONE Championship) debut people have started to know me. 2019 is like a box of surprises to me, I don’t think about what I want to do next year but I’m looking forward to finishing my studies and I want to see how it goes from then on.”

Tokyo dream

Radzuan has spent virtually her entire career competing in Malaysia, although she did travel to Las Vegas for the IMMAF world championships in 2017. All three of her ONE Championship bouts have been at the Axiata Arena and she feels very comfortable competing in that arena.

“Because I’m still young and new, fighting in my hometown is the best thing for me now. I’m so honored to fight in front of my fellow Malaysians,” Jihin says.

However there is one ambition she hopes to realize next year. The 24 event ONE Championship schedule features two cards in Tokyo and Ridzuan would love to fight in a city which will always be iconic for Asian MMA.

“I’m looking forward to another eventful year with (but) I love traveling (and) in 2019 I really hope I get to fight in Tokyo,” she said.