Meet The Pro MMA Fighter Taking Down Gender Stereotypes

Image via Pamper MY.

They say first impressions are everything but what they don’t disclose is that first impressions are also deceiving. To the uninitiated, Jihin Radzuan gives off the feeling that she wouldn’t dare hurt a fly. But as evident by her stellar debut and impressive win at ONE: Visions of Victory in March, it is within the intimidating confines of an octagon where this ‘Shadowcat’ well and truly shines. Taking time out of her incredibly hectic schedule, Jihin sat down with MissMafia to talk training, gender stigma and personal inspirations.

What first drew you to the world of Mix Martial Arts (MMA)?

For me, it was really love at first sight after seeing Sung Ga Yeon fight on TV. I became really intrigued and started searching for MMA classes and gyms around where I lived. I eventually found the Ultimate MMA Academy, which is where I train to this day.

Jihin Radzuan in a grapple with opponent Pooja Tomar, who she went on to beat in the atomweight category of ONE: Visions of Victory championship. Image via Conan Daily.

Since joining One FC, what have been some of the challenges you’ve faced leading up to this point?

I would say time. Having a super packed schedule and constantly being tired are some of the biggest challenges I face regularly. Aside from being a pro-fighter, I also work as a veterinary nurse, and I’m still studying. Being a daughter, I also need to help take care of my family as well.

Between training, working and family commitments, how do you juggle it all?

I usually train at night after work. I work between 10am and 6pm and train from 8pm to 10pm. Even though I’m flat out after work, I tell myself that this is what I need to do to achieve my goals. It just helps to boost my strength mentally as well.

Jihin in action. Image via Conan Daily.

For the most part, MMA is still very much a male-dominated sport. What are your thoughts on that?

In my opinion, a woman who participates in a male-dominated sport will attract more attention as women must have the heart to take the risk and overcome gender stereotypes and bias. Sometimes, boys don’t want to make us their girlfriends as we’re not girly enough for them. While others may be old-fashioned and think that a man should be the one protecting the woman and will not be able to accept if a woman is stronger than he is. As for me, I really do enjoy what I’m doing now and I’m glad we live in a time where there is opportunity for both men and women in sports.

What would your advice be to other women who are interested in MMA but are a bit apprehensive to sign up for a class?

No matter what you do, it’s always going to be a bit tough in the beginning. But you shouldn’t let that discourage or stop you.

Jihin Radzuan upon winning the ONE: Visions of Victory championship. Image via The Vocket.

You’re such an inspirational person but who inspires you?

My coach, Melvin Yeoh, is definitely an inspiration to me. As I mentioned, it can be difficult being a fighter and juggling work and family at the same time. But my coach, who is a full-time highschool teacher and fighter himself, manages this balancing act and I find that very inspirational.

What does strength mean to you?

To me, strength doesn’t mean the power to lift heavy things but strength means having the courage to face all of life’s challenges and the ability to endure hardships and have the passion to chase your dream and make it a reality.

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Looking for more interesting reads about inspiring Malaysian women? Read our last Spotlight feature on the self-taught calligrapher behind Owl & Quill who says that creativity isn’t something we’re born with – it’s something we learn.

About Hanna Halim

PR Executive by Day, Crazy Cat Lady by Night

I am a reluctant PR practitioner with an unhealthy affinity towards Pinterest and Topshop. I make up one fifth of the marcomm team at YTL Hotels and for the most part, I like what I do but I’m always hungry for more.

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