Roshnee Khaira is equipped with a stethoscope and a lab coat during the day, but come evening time, the highly-talented doctor switches her live-saving role for a gi and a pair of mixed martial arts gloves.
Over the past three years, the 30-year-old’s martial arts journey has taken her by surprise, but she admits the sport has given her a new meaning in life.
“I never watched any martial arts events or videos while I grew up, but in 2016, I decided to pick up a new sport to keep me healthy,” she recalled ahead of her ONE Warrior Series 5 bout against India’s Neha Kashyap on Thursday, 25 April.
“The first six months were hard, but after a while, I got used to balancing my work life and martial arts, which is like my ‘me’ time — a time where I feel calm and when I can feel at my happiest.”
Khaira did her research, and eventually took up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Monarchy MMA in Kuala Lumpur under the tutelage of Bruno Barbosa in 2016. She formed a close friendship with everyone at the gym, which includes Malaysia’s ONE Championship welterweight star Agilan Thani.
The atomweight said BJJ caught her eyes at first sight, as it was the most attractive and beneficial martial art that could be used in a real-life situation.
“After a few classes, I realized how beneficial it could be, especially for us women in case of any threatening situations. BJJ was, of course, created so a smaller individual can outclass a larger opponent, and this itself caught my attention,” the Johor-born martial artist explained.
Following months of practice, Khaira eventually signed up for a grappling match – her first bout ever as a martial artist.
Despite losing that contest, it was then when she discovered martial arts was her true passion.
“I lost a lot of times in my first year, but I never gave up. It’s not about losing, but learning in defeat,” she said.
“Only a year later, I won a couple of matches, before sealing the overall winner in the under-51kg category at the 2017 Copa Da Malasia. It felt amazing.”
That achievement led to another, and before she knew it, the doctor started to make the transition to mixed martial arts.
These days, she trains BJJ at Gainz MMA in Subang Jaya while honing her mixed martial arts craft at Muayfit Petaling Jaya.
Despite a nine-hour working schedule from 7.30am to 4.30pm, the atomweight still dedicates four hours of her day to the sport.
“I still train six times a week because it’s something I love doing,” she said.
“Time has always been the biggest challenge for me, but I never use that as an excuse to stop me from pursuing my dreams.”
On 25 April, she will have the chance to continue pursuing that dream when OWS 5 gets underway.