1 / 5

Muslim, female and a cage fighter

Ann focuses before the fight.

Bound hands and a mouth guard protect against injuries in the ring.

Ann Osman (left) throws punches during her mixed martial arts fight against Egypt's Walaa Abbas.

Ann ecstatic with her victory over Walaa Abbas.

Ann shows off her black eye after the fight.

Ann Osman is the first female Muslim mixed matrial arts (MMA) fighter to compete at the top level of the rapidly growing, sometimes very violent sport. She has been publicly showing that Muslim women do not have to be docile in Malaysia, where conservative, religious norms often force women into traditional roles and where religious leaders hold increasing sway over society. Osman says there is nothing un-Islamic about her fighting career. "We don't believe religion should stop us. Islam teaches us to work hard,"