Sherilyn Lim is set to raise the profile of female mixed martial artists on October 18 when she makes her debut in the famed ONE FC cage in front of her home fans at the 12,000-seater Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The former college table tennis player turned muay Thai master will feature in the second women’s match of ONE FC’s two-year history following the ground-breaking bout between Singapore’s Nicole Chua and Jeet Toshi of India on March 31 last year.
Lim’s opponent has yet to be named for October’s ‘Total Domination’event, but she is relishing the challenge regardless of who she faces.
“It’s definitely an honour for the opportunity – we’re talking about the biggest MMA organisation in Asia,” Lim told the Post.
Lim’s interest in combat sports began as a student at Singapore Polytechnic, where she started the SP Muay Thai Club in the hope of losing some excess weight. Serving as secretary, she oversaw the club’s rapid growth to more than 100 students.
Recruiting instructors from Singapore’s oldest MMA gym Fight G to train club members put Lim in contact with owner Darren de Silva, who recognised her potential in cage fighting.
Under the guidance of her compatriot mentor, Lim quickly improved and was known to hold her own in sparring sessions against those of greater experience and a significant weight advantage.
Lim left the gym to pursue a career in advertising and hospitality, but was convinced to return to training by De Silva. Having shed weight to stand at a svelte 54kg, Lim was unleashed on the MMA scene earlier this year, dismantling her opponent in an amateur domestic competition.
She now enters the ONE FC cage as member of a select group who get to represent Singapore on the global platform.
“I’m excited and looking forward to fight night. I think nerves would be the last thing on my mind,” said Lim.
“When I step in, the switch flips. Of course I am human too, but I learn how to channel the energy that I don’t need to become fuel for my mind.”
The Singaporean cites Demetrious Johnson of the US as a source of inspiration. Johnson is a protégé of Matt Hume, ONE FC’s vice-president of Operations and Competition, and fight’s out of Hume’s AMC Pankration gym in Seattle.
The 27-year-old, nicknamed Mighty Mouse, is widely regarded as the world’s best flyweight MMA fighter and is the current UFC champion of the division.
“[Johnson is] fast and never stops working. He’s like a machine gun,” added Lim.
The development of the sport for Asian women is something Lim is keen to foster.
“I’d love to see it grow and for more women to have the recognition they earn and deserve for the work that they do,” she said.
“There are definitely women in the region doing MMA. It would be great if doors were to be opened up for them too.”