Anita Karim, a 22 year-old from Karimabad, Hunza, is the first female Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter to represent Pakistan at an international level. Anita won her second international match at the One Warrior Series (OWS) in Singapore, against Indonesia’s Gita Suharsono, where she dominated all three rounds of the fight.

Expressing her feelings before going into the fight, Anita stated, “I had one thought on my mind - I have to win, not for myself, but for other women. They are considered weak in our society; I want to tell everyone that this sport is for men and women alike. We are strong and can defend ourselves by learning this sport.”

Competing at Islamabad’s Fight Fortress, she has also won three gold medals and a silver medal last year at the Pakistan Grappling Challenge (PGC) 5 and 6. Known as “the arm collector,” Anita became inspired by her brothers Ehtisham Karim, Uloomi Karim, and Ali Sultan, who themselves are professional MMA fighters. She started her training under their guidance and supervision two years ago.

Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is an extremely combative sport that combines techniques of grappling, striking, and wrestling. It has recently become very popular in Pakistan, boasting a large talent pool of fighters. Comparatively however, MMA is still a new sport which is widely dominated by men. Anita, now a prominent contender, is a prime example that women too can compete and be successful.

“I want to become an example for girls. I want to inspire them to keep moving towards their goal, to achieve whatever they want, and prove to everyone that girls can do anything,” said Anita with pride.