For the first time since the launch of her professional MMA career in 2013, Ann Osman (1-1) is excited for the chance to fight on her home turf.
Osman, on Friday, welcomes Super Fight League veteran Aya Saeid Saber (2-4) to Malaysian soil on the main card of ONE FC 21: Roar of Tigers, which takes place October 17 at the Putra Indoor Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
The 28-year-old is yet to experience first-hand what the occasion might entail but assured Red Card Connect that she is relishing the opportunity of competing in front of her fellow countrymen.
Ann Osman eager to enjoy home crowd’s adulation, eyes 115-lbs title
“It definitely helps to have the support of your own home town. I’ve never had that before throughout my MMA career and it’s just great, especially when I was supposed to fight on home soil in March but it didn’t happen,” Osman said, in an exclusive interview on ‘The Fight Club’.
“And now, I finally get the chance to have that. I’ve never gotten the opportunity to fight in front of my home town and feel that love. When you get into that cage, you can’t really hear or see everyone else but just knowing you’re there, gives me a lift.”
Osman will be looking for her second win on the trot following ONE FC 19: Reign of Champions, where she notched the first triumph of her professional MMA career over former renowned world Boxing champion, Ana Julaton. A quick glance at her resume shows a 1-1 mark, though that in fact, may be far from fair. Osman locked horns with Sherilyn Lim in her debut at ONE FC 11: Total Domination in Singapore, but came off the losing end of a controversial split call.
Maybe in that regard, as Osman puts it, is the reason why she’s been looking at her past fights to fix her faults. ‘Athena’ knows she will be the favorite heading into Friday’s tussle but is not taking the chance on underestimating her opponent one bit.
“I learn from every fight that I go through and I never stop training. I’m pretty critical of myself so although I won the fight against Ana (Julaton), I just went back to the drawing board to assess every round. I was still looking at what I needed to improve on and what needed work,” she added. “Aya (Saeid Saber) is a good fighter. She’s well-rounded, well-seasoned and she’s got a pretty extensive record as well. Nonetheless, I still feel confident. I haven’t got as many fights as she does but I’ve improved day-by-day and it’s always been non-stop training.”
And it’s those training sessions under the watchful eyes of mentor AJ ‘Pyro’ Lias Mansor and Mark Striegl that has given the Borneo Tribal Squad product the belief in putting the tools in her arsenal together.
Furthermore, with the ONE FC Strawweight Championship in a vacant state, Osman hopes to earn the right to compete to be the inaugural champion one day.
“It’s been a great journey and I’ve been learning a lot from AJ and Mark. It’s great that I’ve also managed to work with some other great people that have shared their knowledge with either the entire Borneo Tribal Squad team or just myself,” Osman said.
“The female roster is pretty new here in ONE FC and for me, being one of the first few female athletes here, the ultimate goal is to win that strap; to be the first female champion. I have another opponent in my way and what better else than to just beat her and get on with it, you know?”
Malaysia’s own rising female prospect, Ann Osman, clashes with Egyptian veteran Aya Saeid Saber at ONE FC 21: Roar of Tigers. The running order features a headlining bill between slugger Rob Lisita (14-6) and former M-1 Featherweight champion, Marat Gafurov (9-0).
The rest of the card features a hoist of Malaysian names such as Peter Davis (8-3) and Saiful Merican (3-1), along with up-and-coming talents. Catch all the action LIVE on pay-per-view. Viewers in Asia, meanwhile, can catch the main card LIVE on FOX Sports 2.
*Click here to listen to the full interview with Ann Osman
*Credit: Red Card Connect/Red Card Sports Radio