Ann Osman (5-3) holds the distinct honor of being the first-ever Malaysian-born Muslim female professional Mixed Martial Arts athlete to compete at the apex level of the rapidly growing sport in Asia.
The ever-focused and positive 30-year-old has swiftly knocked out a series of unsavory stereotypes as many hard-hitting opponents since her crowning professional debut in 2013; Osman is currently signed to a lucrative contract with successful Singapore-based promotion ONE Championship; Osman was featured in TIME Magazine in November 2014.
Osman initially entered Mixed Martial Arts classes in Muay Thai purely for mere personal fitness, and later became hooked courtesy to the daily practitioners dedication and disciplinary ethics involved; Osman also owns – and manages – a renowned travel agency company in Sabah, Malaysia.
The defiantly courageous Ann Osman has essentially demonstrated that South East Asian women in society at large should not morally accept to be docile individuals in a continent where conservative faith norms invariably force females into stereotypically traditionalist roles, and where national faith figures hold increasing power over the influence of society itself. The differentiation in the noble Eastern world and oft-progressive Western world when presenting Ann Osman‘s success story could not present a greater culture clash and dichotomy.
Ann Osman proudly states that there is nothing un-Islamic regarding her Mixed Martial Arts career. A distinct willingness to assertively confront challengers in the octagon is profoundly inspiring women to undertake Mixed Martial Arts classes to counter domestic violence, potential premeditated street attacks, or to ultimately live out the dream of performing on an elite professional sports platform.
The ONE FC standouts meteoric rise to prominence in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has been vividly underscored with an element of pride, self-confidence and a deep hunger to fulfill her consuming ambitions; Osman expertly ousted Vy Srey Khouch at ONE Championship: Throne of Tigers on February 2017 via TKO in round one.
Q: Which Mixed Martial Artists influenced you to initially become enamored with the sport prior to becoming a professional fighter with ONE FC?
I initially started with Muay Thai to stay fit at the Borneo Tribal Squad and then I saw my coach AJ Pyro training MMA with the boys and it intrigued me. My coach asked if I would like to try out MMA, and so I did. Then the opportunity from ONE Championship came along and the rest was history.
Q: How overwhelmed are you that TIME Magazine in the United States acknowledged your solid work in ONE Championship with a very positive feature article?
I was really excited, and am very grateful for the recognition given by such a prominent magazine. My team, the Borneo Tribal Squad and I work really really hard preparing for each fight I have, and having TIME Magazine recognize the effort we put in, not just in winning, but also in inspiring people – that means a lot to me.
Q: Do you feel as though Ronda Rousey has altered the very notion of how women, in general, are perceived in Mixed Martial Arts?
Yes. Ronda (Rousey) has definitely played a major role in proving that MMA is not just a sport for men. She proves that she is just as good as the male fighters in the cage, and she definitely has inspired so many women to take up MMA seriously as a career.
Q: How difficult is it being a Muslim female competing in Mixed Martial Arts in Asia?
There are definitely critics and comments about me being a Muslim female competing in the sport, but I usually don’t think too much about it. I think everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs due to culture or upbringing, but I do not let that get to me. There are also many people who are supportive of me in Asia, and I prefer to be motivated by that.
Q: What does your general daily workout consist of?
In the morning, I usually run the trails and do more strength and conditioning training to improve both cardio and strength, and by evening I will spar or drill both ground and striking techniques with my coach and teammates at Borneo Tribal Squad MMA gym.
Q: What aspects of your Mixed Martial Arts game are you aiming to improve on most?
I aim to improve my overall game be it striking, ground and even wrestling. I can say I am a whole rounded fighter, and it is crucial for me to able to work on all aspects of my game.
Q: What does your daily diet consist of when you are a standout international Mixed Martial Artist?
I generally eat healthy with the occasional weekly treat. I get a lot of protein from lean chicken, beef, fish and eggs. I also make sure the bigger portion of my meals consists of vegetables. I try to limit my sugar intake, and always make sure I drink a lot of water.
Q: Women are now rapidly undertaking Mixed Martial Arts classes daily throughout Asia for both self-defense and to aspire to become the next Ann Osman. What does this mean to you personally?
I feel very honored to be able to help and inspire women to be more independent, confident and healthy through martial arts.
Q: Would you ever contemplate making the transition into acting similar to Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano one day?
I have received quite a number of offers to act in some local productions. However, at the moment I prefer to focus on my professional fight career as well as managing my business in Sabah.
Ann Osman Official Twitter: @Ann_Osman