Mixed martial arts is un-Islamic for many people living in a conservative Muslim country like Malaysia. Female MMA fighters are rare in such countries where women are expected to do more traditional activities such as cooking and domestic interests.
A breakthrough happened in 2013 when Ann “Athena” Osman, 32, of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia made her professional MMA debut. After competing in nine ONE Championship bouts, she retired in 2017 and is now dubbed the Malaysian MMA queen.
Following Osman’s footsteps is Jihin “Shadowcat” Radzuan, 19, of Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The latter made a successful ONE Championship debut on March 9, 2018 at “ONE: Visions of Victory” at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she defeated Pooja Tomar of India.
Inspired by Osman’s advocacy to erase the negative perception of women’s participation in combat sports, Radzuan believes that religious consciousness from certain people should not stop female MMA fighters from pursuing their dreams. The Johor Bahru native explained, “Being a mixed martial artist and being a Muslim as well shouldn’t hinder what I want to do or with achieving my goals or my ambition.”
“We don’t believe religion should stop us,” Radzuan continued. “Islam teaches us to work hard.”
Currently, Radzuan holds a professional MMA record of 2 wins and 0 loss. Aside from competing in combat sports, she also works as a veterinary nurse.
On July 13, 2018, Radzuan will display her martial arts skills once again in front of her countrymen. She will compete in the women’s atomweight division agains Priscilla “Thathi” Hertati Lumban Gaol, 30, of Jakarta, Indonesia at “ONE: Pursuit of Power” at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In the main event of “ONE: Pursuit of Power,” Agilan “Alligator” Thani, 22, of Malaysia and Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam, 27, of Sweden will compete in the welterweight division. Like Radzuan, Thani also competed at “ONE: Visions of Victory.”
Here is a “ONE: Visions of Victory” recap by Michael Schiavello and Mitch “The Dragon” Chilson: