Malaysia’s first female muslim fighter named Time Next Generation Leader

Malaysia’s first female muslim fighter named Time Next Generation Leader

As the first top-tier Muslim female MMA fighter, Malaysia’s Ann Osman is ensuring she won’t be the last. 1

Time magazine recently launched their Next Generation Leader series, which seeks to introduce young people from around the world who are working hard to make an impact in their respective fields, ranging from business, science, activism, to sports.  Osman, a fighter with One FC, was chosen as a selection to the series.

Ann Osman looks un-impressed as she glances at photographs of her prefight weigh-in on social-media sites. This isn’t because her opponent, Aya Saeid Saber, tried to provoke her before their mixed-martial-arts (MMA) fight, which will take place the following day, but because Osman’s smartphone is showing her just how many people have already made sexually loaded comments about photos of the weigh-in.

“That doesn’t happen to guys,” says Osman, 28, between bites of sushi on the eve of her Oct. 17 bout in Kuala Lumpur. “But then again, I just ignore them.”

As the first female Muslim MMA fighter to compete at the top level of the rapidly growing, albeit sometimes very violent sport, Osman has already had to knock down as many stereotypes as opponents since her professional debut late last year. Along the way she has been very publicly showing that Muslim women in Malaysia do not have to be docile in a country where conservative, religious norms often force women into traditional roles and where religious figures hold increasing sway over society.


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