WHEN looking at the history books and searching for a pioneer in Malaysia’s women’s mixed martial arts industry, a familiar name is guaranteed to appear.

It is Sabah’s very own Ann “Athena” Osman.

She announced her retirement from the sport in November 2017, but she has continued to inspire thousands of Malaysians through her current role in ONE Championship’s athlete relations department and as a Global Citizen ambassador.

“There’s a reason why I do what I do,” the emotional 32-year-old says.

READ: A treasure from Sabah: The story of Malaysia's first pro female MMA fighter, Ann Osman

“I’m passionate about it, and if whatever I’ve done throughout my career in the cage has inspired many people, I believe I can do the same outside the cage.

“I try to inspire and aide people around me whenever I can. Whenever you give, you get back.

“The world needs more people who can churn out positivity. Just like how Malaysians inspired me every time I walked down that ONE Championship stage, now it’s my turn to give back.”

In January 2018, ONE Championship announced its partnership with Global Citizen.

Global Citizen is an international advocacy organization with the goal of ending extreme poverty across the world by 2030.

A few other Global Citizen ambassadors at ONE Championship are Agilan “Alligator” Thani, “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, Brandon “The Truth” Vera, and Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang.

Osman feels honored to be part of this effort and help alongside other Asian mixed martial arts heroes.

“I’ve learned over the years that it does not cost to help someone. I went through a journey, and it wasn’t achieved easily,” she says.

“Life was not easy, and I went through the whole grind. To be given opportunities like these, alongside world-class athletes, is really a reward to me.”

The Malaysian women’s mixed martial arts pioneer also shared some of the most touching stories from her work with Global Citizen.

“We went to this foundation in Kuala Lumpur, and I was teaching some basic self-defense classes when a little kid came up to me and asked me what do I do in this particular position,” Ann recalls.

“She demonstrated to me the kind of vulnerable moments in her life, and it did tear me up a bit. To see them smile despite leading a tough life is something money cannot buy.”