People love to write New Year’s Resolutions, it’s a tradition for most everyone looking to improve themselves within the next 12 months. For some, the new year represents a fresh new start and an opportunity to draw on a blank canvas — a clean slate of a story which is yet to be written.
The life of a fighter, however, is drastically different. Malaysian warrior belle Ann “Athena” Osman of Borneo Tribal Squad is one of Asia’s biggest mixed martial arts stars. She has captured the imagination of fans with her dazzling array of moves inside the cage as well as her captivating beauty outside of it.
Serving as a beacon of light to all women across the region, inspiring them to be all that they can be and to follow their dreams, Osman shared with us her three main goals for 2017, and they prove just how much hard work has played into her success as a fighter.
#1 Improve Her Skill And Technique
“People say 2016 was one of the worst years in history, but for me, I don’t think there ever really are good or bad years. It all comes down to how you look at it,” said Osman. “I have been fighting and competing in ONE Championship consistently year after year. In every fight, whether I win or I lose, there is always a lesson to be learned, and I try my best to pick up everything I can regardless of the outcome.”
Self-improvement is a recurring theme in Osman’s budding MMA career, and is also one of the founding principles of martial arts. Osman’s career in ONE Championship has been a mixed bag of highs and lows, but one thing Osman never fails to do is see the positives in each situation.
Every loss to Osman is an opportunity to identify areas of improvement, holes in her game that she can work to fill. There is no doubt Osman continues to diversify her skill set and work towards becoming a more complete fighter.
“I can say I’m pretty critical of myself. I’m the first to come up to my coach and make some suggestions on areas of my game that I feel I need to improve on,” said Osman. “Having said that, I feel that every year and every fight, every training experience, has taught me a lot not only in terms of skill and technique, but also a better understanding of the game.
“I continue to learn a lot about myself as a fighter, and that constant learning has helped me improve every single time.”
#2 Win All Of Her Fights This Year
2016 saw Osman grace the ONE Championship cage twice. A win in July over Haiat Farag showcased Osman’s vastly-improved grappling game, while an unfortunate loss to April Osenio in early September set her back. But nonetheless, Osman maintains 2016 was a good year filled with highlights in both her career and personal life.
“For me, 2016 was life-changing. First of all, I turned 30 last year, and that felt alright,” laughed Osman. “I came back after a loss in 2015 and won against Haiat Farag last July, and then two months later, unfortunately I lost to April Osenio at home in Kuala Lumpur. But it was all good, I kept my head up and continued training.”
Like most people, Osman enjoys the new year and views it as a new beginning of sorts, despite being in a constant state of training year-round. As a fighter and a world-class athlete, Osman never stops putting work in at the gym. Hard work, she says, is the secret to success.
“2017 is a new year filled with new possibilities, and everyone loves a fresh new start. As a fighter. I’m going to keep it simple and say I want to win all of my fights this year,” said Osman. “Oh, and 2016 was also the year I went from being a ‘Miss’ to a ‘Missus’!”
#3 Earn A Title Shot
Becoming a champion is every fighter’s dream. It is the pinnacle of all the time and effort put into training day in and day out. It is the apex of a fighter’s career, the goal they have been building towards with each and every fight.
In some ways, it is the final destination of a long and winding road on the path to success.
ONE Championship doesn’t officially have a female titleholder at strawweight, the division in which Osman competes. But that doesn’t mean the possibility of crowning a champion in this division is far-fetched. In the midst of budding competition, Osman could lead a group of talented female mixed martial artists as the promotion’s strawweight champion.
Despite a loss to Osenio last September, Osman believes that with enough hard work and determination, she can no doubt return to her perch atop the rankings in 2017. And somewhere down the line, if the opportunity presents itself, a shot at ONE Championship gold.
“Of course, my biggest aspiration will be someday winning a world title, but I have to work towards that,” said Osman. “With the right amount of dedication and perseverance, I believe anything is possible.”
Currently, Angela Lee is ONE Championship’s one and only female world champion holding the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship, but with a couple of wins under her belt and the emergence of a few solid competitors, Osman could work her way towards representing the region as a female world champion in a blossoming strawweight division.