There’s not one day which passes in Bali, Indonesia where Malaysian bantamweight star 'Jungle Cat' Muhammad Aiman does not think about his loving family back home.
Among his three siblings and parents, however, there is one figure whom he has a particularly special bond with — his supportive mother, Haliza Ujang.
However, instead of the usual “I miss you, mum” text messages or regular video calls, the 24-year-old maintains a rather strange relationship with the family’s matriarch.
“My mum and I, we have this really weird relationship,” he said ahead of Mother’s Day 2019.
“We have this unspoken thing going on, where we know that we care for each other despite not communicating on a regular basis. We probably have a proper conversation once every couple of months.
“I know when she’s talking to her friends about me and vice versa. That’s how special our relationship is. It’s a bond which makes us care and love one another even more."
Aiman’s 'excuse' for not regularly conversing with his mother is because he knows she is busy spending time with the family and her friends.
In past interviews, “Jungle Cat” has never left her out of the topic, describing her as probably his biggest fan, and even dedicating his sensational victory over then-undefeated Chinese warrior “Rock Man” Chen Lei in September 2018 to Haliza.
“We don’t even say ‘I love you’ to each other that much, but I’m certainly proud of having her as a mother, and she always reminds me that she’s proud of how far I’ve come, too,” the Kuala Pilah-born martial artist said.
However, every bond between the mother and son isn’t always easygoing.
The times the two talk on the phone, Aiman says, “she’s always complaining about me, but that’s how she speaks to me, and that’s what has led me to where I am today.”
Whenever he is back home in Negeri Sembilan, all the grumbling and nagging are usually put aside to allow the family to spend meaningful time together before “Jungle Cat" – the eldest of four siblings – returns to Bali MMA for his usual grind.
“It’s always fun at Bali MMA, but at times, I miss home — just a little bit,” he said.
For the time being, Aiman is in Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the start of Ramadan, and with Mother’s Day, he will certainly spend some quality time with his biggest fan.