The “Jungle Cat” Muhammad Aiman never went looking for conflict, but conflict always seemed to find him.
For the bulk of his life, he grew up in various Malaysian cities, but at 15 years old, his family relocated back to his birth state of Negeri Sembilan. That change, unintentionally, put a target on the young man’s back that stayed with him through high school.
“I was the city kid that moved to a village,” the 22-year-old recalls. “People hated city kids, so they always tried to bully me. I did not like that. I had a fight almost every month.”
Fortunately, or unfortunately, for the young teen, those after school scraps never caught the attention of adults. To all but his peers, Aiman’s tales of high school hand-to-hand combat never happened. He does not go into much detail about wins and losses, but it is safe to assume he got the better of most of his opponents.
“I never told my mom, either,” he reveals. “Every Alpha at the school wanted to fight me.”
A lot of fighters are drawn to training either to get in shape or learn to defend themselves. Aiman is a lone exception. At 16, he took up boxing entirely for recreation. He insists fighting was never a motivation.
Two years later, the teenage “cat” grew restless with boxing, so he set his sights on something more versatile: mixed martial arts. However, just like high school, he ran into another obstacle. This time, the opposition was much closer to home than the village kids who wanted to pick fights.
“[My parents] are really supportive now. In the beginning, not so much. Especially my mom,” he says. “She wanted me to continue studying and do everything that normal teenagers do.”
The skepticism of his mother is understandable. It is fairly typical for parents to wonder how their children will do the simple things, like put food on the table and keep the lights on. It took Aiman training consistently and trying his hand at college to win over his mother.
“I did not even finish the first semester. I realized I could not do this for two and a half years. I did not want to waste any money, so I quit,” he says. “Now [my mother is] supportive. She is like my manager, for free.”
Aiman’s mother has plenty of reasons to be proud of her son. After a string of amateur bouts, culminating with him winning the MIMMA Featherweight Championship, the “Jungle Cat” turned professional and stepped into the sport’s major leagues in September of 2016 – ONE Championship.
“I saw a couple of his fights,” Aiman says of his Team Lakay opponent. “He is a tough kid.”
Aiman does not have much else to say about Kingad, and with all the battles he has won, it makes perfect sense that he is less worried about what Kingad brings to the cage and more about what he plans to do.
That is a bad thing for his Filipino rival, and a great thing for ONE fans looking for an exciting fight.