Muhammad Aiman returns to ONE Championship action at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON on 8 September looking to score another impressive win, but he will have to go some way to better his second appearance for ONE.
It took place back in February 2017, when he faced three-time BJJ Champion Eduardo Novaes at ONE: THRONE OF TIGERS in his native Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“I was so nervous,” he remembers.
“I was [freaking out] so hard backstage, and I still did not have good eyes. I did not have my eye surgery yet, so I was still wearing contacts. I took them out, and I could not see anything, so I was [freaking out].
“Everything inside of me was just a mess. I was so nervous. I could not walk.
“After my song played, I walked out to the cage, and it all went away.
“Before that, it was just a train wreck. But when I stepped into the cage, I felt pretty normal. I did not feel nervous any more.”
Aiman had an experience advantage over the grappling ace, who was making his mixed martial arts debut, and he put it to good use, as he kept the bout standing and peppered his opponent with strikes in the opening round.
When the pace dropped in the second round, the “Jungle Cat” used his composure to pick off Novaes.
“I was just trying to find how to hit him cleanly,” the Kuala Lumpur native explains.
“So I kept throwing [strikes], and responded to his strikes. I threw a left body kick, and then I saw his hand was down.
“I was playing around a little bit, and I threw it again, and then I threw a left hand right away. That kind of rocked him. I was going, ‘Should I chase him or not?’ because his hand was still up.
“But I saw his hand was all the way up, and he was not defending his body. So I just threw the hardest kick I could, and he fell down.”
It gave Aiman the first stoppage win of his professional career as he proved to himself that he belonged in ONE Championship.
“I just wanted to show that I am one of the strongest fighters in Malaysia,” he says.
“It was crazy too, because I kept imagining me doing that four weeks before the fight. I wanted to knock him out, and I wanted to run out of the cage to my cornermen. I always imagined that certain moment, and it happened. It was such a crazy moment.”
Now he returns to action against “Rock Man” Chen Lei in Shanghai in a bantamweight clash that looks set to light up the Baoshan Arena on 8 September.
If he can hand Chen the first defeat of his career, he will find himself one big step closer to a shot at the bantamweight title.