Most people know him as “The Jungle Cat,” a tag given to him by a former coach but appropriate for this 23-year-old mixed martial arts fighter who will be on the prowl for another victory on Friday, March 9.
Muhammad Aiman is the “jungle cats” name and this Seremban local and ONE Championship ‘warrior’ is one of Malaysia’s rising martial arts talents.
Aiman is back on home soil this Friday night for his showcase fight against Cambodia’s Rin Saroth at the ONE: Visions of Victory tournament, held at the Axiata Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
Aiman will take on the experienced 24-year-old Saroth who specialises in Kun Khmer and has over 130 bouts to his name, 110 of the matches being victories - this is going to be one helluva fight.
Negeri Sembilan’s Aiman chooses to live and train at a specialist gym in Bali, Indonesia, where he trains and practises his martial art nearly every day. It is also a place where he partakes in another love of his, surfing.
It’s an odd combination of sports, one that sees you batter your opponent to a bloodied submission and another that has no opponent but brings a calm to the soul while riding the flowing movements of ocean swell - Aiman believes the cross-training aspects of both these sports help him out in both pursuits.
Most mornings he will surf before martial art training in the afternoons, everyday except Sunday: and what does he usually do on his day off? He goes surfing of course, or practises his skateboarding moves.
When Aiman tires from all the heavy training you will most likely find him in a corner, pencil in hand, sketching a portrait of a friend, which he says is therapeutic and helps him relax, a skill he believes was passed down from his father.
Doesn’t sound like the enraged, angry fighter ready to smash his opponent to the floor but don’t under estimate this lad from Seremban, who has scampered up the rankings with the speed and lightness of another Malay animal, a tree climbing tupai.
Aiman likes to break down his opponents slowly, before moving in for the “kill,” usually with a stinging kick or a striking punch– a jungle cat, patiently circling his prey, waiting for that moment.
The bout on Friday night will test Aiman’s fighting and physical skills as well as his mental capacities, with his biggest fear being “having to fight someone he likes,” as he feels it is harder to hit someone who is nice!
The boy who lists his mum as one of three things he couldn’t live without may be a kind soul but Aiman is no kitten – once he’s in that ring, his Balinese training takes over and the jungle cat knows what to do.
Giving up is never an option.