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2019 has been a defining year for some of Malaysia’s top martial artists, and the latest of the lot is none other than Mohamad Fakri “Ant Man” Bin Yusoff.

The Muay Thai specialist made his ONE Championship debut at ONE: IMMORTAL TRIUMPH in September, and although he suffered a loss, he remains positive about his future.

Apart from his skills and ever-calm persona, one thing that catches everyone’s attention is his unique moniker “Ant Man” – not to be confused with Marvel Comics’ Ant-Man.

“Actually, I don’t share this story much because it is somewhat funny, but my original fight name was ‘Poksu Semut Gatal,’ which means red ants,” the Malaysian said.

“No, I did not sting or bite anyone in training, but I was a tall and very thin kid growing up – hence the nickname.”

The moniker was given to him by his eldest brother, also an “art of eight limbs” practitioner while they were growing up in Kelantan.

“My brother who trained me from day one said I always lost balance easily, and that reminded him of an ant. I don’t see the similarity, but I’m cool with whatever name my brother wanted to give me,” he said.

But his eldest brother thought he needed to shorten “Poksu Semut Gatal” when The Home Of Martial Arts came knocking at his younger brother’s door earlier this year.

“He sat down with me and suggested that I call myself ‘Ant Man,’” the Muay Thai 98 Fitness Gym representative said.

“The previous nickname would have been a better fit within the Malaysian community. On an international stage, it’s best to keep a short and simple nickname.”

For now, “Ant Man” is craving another opportunity on the global stage.

“ONE Championship told me to always be ready, and that’s what I’m doing right now. It’s fight camp for me all year round.”

With ONE stopping by Kuala Lumpur in December, could this be a chance for the Kelantan native to achieve success on the international stage?

In the meantime, the world’s largest martial arts organization returns to Manila, Philippines for ONE: MASTERS OF FATE this Friday, 8 November.