Mixed martial arts in the modern form started in Asia, when it comes to men. When it comes to women, MMA fighters of the feminine variety are just emerging in the major market.
ONE FC will stage its second major female bout when Sherilyn Lim and Ann Osman both make their pro debut on Thurs. Oct. 17, in Singapore. The fight card is called “Total Domination” and will be available for viewing on the web at www.Onefc.livesport.tv.
With the sudden interest in the western hemisphere regarding female MMA, Asia has sought its best women warriors and the findings are rather unique.
Lim was born and raised in Singapore and grew up speaking Mandarin and English. Her brief journey into MMA began because of a weight problem.
“It’s a funny story. I started with Muy Thai because I was a fat kid. I was involved in sports but it was never as physically challenging,” said Lim (pictured above). “I wanted to try something different. It’s also a skill you can actually learn.”
Osman was training for exercise and happened to choose an instructor already involved with ONE FC as a prizefighter. Next thing you know Osman was a participant in the sport.
“He was training a few guys and I decided to join the class. The rest is history,” says Osman, who also tried Muy Thai. “I keep on training every day. There were some amateur bouts and I decided to compete just to see where I’m at.”
Lim and Osman are not the usual survivors of the mean streets who dragged themselves out of desperate situations. One is a skilled musician and the other a business manager for a real estate company.
Osman balances her job in real estate while preparing for the biggest female MMA fight in Asian history. The 27-year-old actually spent some years as a youth in the state of Illinois while her mother was teaching at a local university. Her father owned a company in Malaysia and is an ex-boxer.
Lim has a deep family background in music that includes classical training and appreciation. Lim plays piano, guitar and sings.
In the U.S., fighters like Ronda Rousey have already crashed through the veneer of doubt from fight fans. The blonde she-warrior’s ability to end fights within a round has spawned curiosity and awe from both male and female fight fans. Rousey has also piqued the interest from people who do not normally follow any kind of prizefighting.
That sparked interest is what ONE FC intends to further establish in Asia.
Female fighting is not entirely a stranger to Asia, but in MMA, it has only seen one other pro female fight take place. Both Lim and Osman are geared to go full force against each other and not hold back until one or the other is declared the bantamweight winner.
“I knew it would happen. I tried to tell myself you still need to not get caught up in the media. Or things like that,” said Lim, who aside from speaking perfect English speaks Mandarin Chinese. “You’re going to enter a cage and fight with another human being.”
That chord rings as true as any Lim plays on a piano.
“I have never been in any brawl outside of the cage,” says Osman with a chuckle. “When female fights start, and the fact that people in Asia are still grasping MMA, and then you add female fighters…people get excited.”
Pressure is on for both women to not only win but to show the world that female MMA fights are going to be a mainstay. They want to do their best.
“I know she is a good striker. Before MMA she has been training Muy Thai for a few years,” said Osman of her opponent Lim. “She also is making her pro debut and has really good, fast hands and fast feet.”
Osman likes her own chances.
“I’ve got a quite a strong base, a good build and heavy hands. Not only that, I have a strong heart,” Osman says with conviction. “It’s all about being focused on the win and winning the fight.”
Lim has trained feverishly for this significant clash.
“Pressure is always going to be there,” says Lim philosophically. “You can’t say what’s going to happen. If there is anything, it’s to basically to fight with no regrets, to do my best 100 percent.”
Women are about to make history.
The fight card begins at 7 a.m. EST.