Still just 22, the Japanese starlet was seen as one of the biggest talents in the ONE atomweight division, having racked up a 5-0 record with four finishes. Radzuan was able to stifle Hirata's formidable grappling and her astute, technical striking was enough to get the job done as she came away with the split decision. The win has catapulted the Malaysian into the atomweight top five for the first time in her career.
"It's very hard for me to call people out but since I'm in the top 5 I think one of them is going to be my opponent, so for now we just get ready every [ranked] opponent and expect the unexpected. If we just refer to the fans comments - they say I have to rematch with Denice [Zamboanga]. Maybe for the next match they will match me with Seo Hee Ham or Rassohyna. So these three fighters I have to prepare for."
"If you ask me the 'interesting' fight I think it would be the rematch with Denice because the last match was a very, very close fight. So if I win this fight it's like I actually regain back my loss."
The pair's first encounter came at ONE: Mark of Greatness in 2019 with Denice Zamboanga coming away with a unanimous decision victory. Since then, Jihin Radzaun has racked up three straight victories while Zamboanga has amassed two wins followed by two losses.
Jihin Radzuan names Mei Yamaguchi as toughest opponent
Itsuki Hirata is viewed as a rising star in the atomweight division and was one of the favorites to win the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix. Beating 'Android18' may have been a landmark victory for the Malaysian, but the 23-year-old cites Hirata's countrywoman Mei Yamaguchi as the toughest opponent she's ever faced. She beat the veteran with a hotly-debated unanimous decision at ONE: Bad Blood.
Radzuan further told Sportskeeda MMA:
"To be honest, I think Mei Yamaguchi was the hardest opponent in my whole fight career. Although I had two losses, they were [compartively] not that hard. I prepared for Itsuki Hirata. We expected a lot from her because she'd had very impressive wins. For this match I think I did a very good job."
Radzuan is the first Malaysian to ever be ranked in ONE Championship. Having now bagged wins over a former title challenger in Yamaguchi and a former top-fiver in Hirata, she is undoutedly the country's biggest hope of becoming the first athlete to win an MMA world title in a major promotion.
Watch the full Sportskeeda MMA interview with Jihin Radzuan below: