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Jihin Radzuan believes Itsuki Hirata tried to break confidence with cockiness: ‘It was a bit stressful’

“Before the fight, she was very cocky, you know. She said that I was an unworthy opponent.”

Jihin Radzuan has quickly put together a good little hot streak of momentum in the ONE Championship 115-pound Atomweight division.

A native of Malaysia, the 23-year-old Radzuan extended her current winning streak to three with an upset over Japan’s previously unbeaten Itsuki Hirata (5-1) at ONE: X on March 26, 2022. Radzuan made a relatively quick turnaround having defeated Mei Yamaguchi the month prior. Admitting this last time out was her biggest fight yet, she wasn’t all too interested in competing and was unaware of the event’s magnitude as the 10th anniversary of the promotion.

“My coach and my teammate convinced me to compete,” Radzuan told MMAMania.com. “To be honest, I wasn’t really up to date. I didn’t even know this was the anniversary. Then they told me, ‘This fight is like the biggest event of the year!’ and everything, and that, ‘You have to go.’ So I said okay. I didn’t rest for too long from the last match so it was just getting back to fight camp.

“It was a bit stressful for me because she (Hirata) was a Judoka and you could see all her takedown rate was like 100 percent,” she continued. “She always goes for a takedown then she always [gets it]. So it’s a bit like, I believe in my techniques and my skills, but it’s just something that I have to be careful with because I’d never seen her in person. I analyze the fight from everything and she was very good. But I believed in my game plan, my coaches, my training partners that helped me a lot. So for the fight camp, I did more than expectations. I gave 110 percent.”

Radzuan needed her entire skillset to secure the split decision win as she thwarted several of Hirata’s takedown attempts and trips to land some of her own. In the end, it was enough to land “Shadowcat” in the No. 5 spot in the weight class’ rankings.

“I’m very happy and excited because everything that was drilled, everything that we analyzed was correct,” Radzuan said. “Everything was on point. Of course, before the fight she was very cocky, you know. She said that I was an unworthy opponent. I know it’s just to bring the hype to the fight and try to break my confidence. I believe she’s a very kind person who was just being cocky because she wants to gain confidence back. For me, I don’t care about that.”

Now in the Top 5, Radzuan may not have to wait all too long for a title opportunity but is more than happy taking things slow.

At ONE: X, there were two other pivotal matchups at 115-pounds as Seo Hee Ham rematched Denice Zamboanga while champion, Angela Lee returned to defend against Stamp Fairtex in the main event. Ham and Lee came out on top and are now expected to face each other next for divisional supremacy. Therefore leaving Radzuan with some options.

While Zamboanga is the last person to defeat Radzuan (8-2), the Malaysian isn’t exactly clamoring for redemption considering Zamboanga has now lost two in a row. Stamp, however, is an exciting thought, but how realistic is it?

“For now, I’m in the Top 5 so anything can happen,” Radzuan said. “But I don’t think they would give me Stamp Fairtex because she’s at No. 1. So ONE Championship could match me with No. 4, No. 3, or even lower than me but who knows. I just have to keep myself active and keep learning new techniques, new things, and just focus on the next match in the future.”

Activity is certainly key for Radzuan at 23. She lost a small chunk of her career like many did when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its height. To keep making up for the lost time, the youngster already has a kickboxing match lined up for next month in her home of Malaysia. After that, she’ll get back to whatever is next inside the ONE Championship cage.

“I’m not in a rush, you know?” she said. “I think after this match I will have a break for one month then go for a fight. I would love to be as active as I can this year because I was off for two years due to lockdown.”