Malaysian MMA star Ann Osman was named a Next Generation Leader by TIME Magazine.
The 28-year-old gave the international title a candid and wide-ranging interview where she discussed discrimination, confidence and what it means to be a Muslim woman MMA fighter.
Osman, who has a two wins – one loss record since turning pro last year, got into MMA after seeing Muay Thai and MMA classes being taught at her gym.
When asked whether there was any conflict in being a Muslim woman and a MMA fighter, Osman said: "Being a mixed martial artist and being a Muslim as well shouldn’t hinder what I want to do or with achieving my goals or my ambition. I work hard at what I do and I always believe in myself and to me that's what matters."
Osman revealed that she believes women are discriminated against in MMA, telling TIME: "To be honest, yes, there's still some discrimination. Still, at this point even after three fights and being with ONE FC for one year, people still don't really take women's MMA that seriously. Some people even comment saying things like: 'I should just stay in the kitchen.' But, I tend to just ignore these people because I never let them get into my head and start influencing me. Like they say, haters gonna hate — you can't just except (Sic) everyone to love you.
"I'm just trying to prove a point that women can fight. This is not just a male sport."
She revealed that while she was nervous before her first fight, a bout that she lost to Sherilyn Lim, she is now confident every time she walks into the ring. Osman says training and having the right mindset are the cornerstones of her confidence.