• Jenelyn Olsim recently graduated with a degree in Political Science
  • She reveals her plans of being an MMA fighter with a law degree
  • Olsim calls out Jihin Radzuan for her next bout in ONE Championship

Team Lakay atomweight Jenelyn Olsim has been steadily making waves throughout her young mixed martial arts (MMA) career since joining ONE Championship.

However, Olsim has another goal in mind: to become a lawyer.

She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Baguio, but that was not originally her plan.

“My initial dream was to be a police officer so I took up Criminology in King’s College of the Philippines, it was also the same time when I was introduced [to] MMA,” Olsim revealed in an interview with International Business Times sports editor and combat sports analyst Nissi Icasiano.

“Everything was going smooth and I was delighted with the achievements I was reaping and as the years [went] by, somehow, I felt like there’s something missing… I did some self-assessment and… [at] that particular moment, I envisioned myself as a lawyer, so I decided to shift to Political Science, believing it would be a step closer to my professional dream.”

Olsim also stressed the importance of her degree and how she wants to be known as someone who can garner achievements outside of the cage.

“Getting my degree is very important not only for myself, mental well-being, and for my family, but foremost, it will also serve as an inspiration to those who are believing in me. Just as the champions of Team Lakay, whom I look up to, inspire me to value education and not simply finish it. On top of that, I also want to be known not just as a fighter but the college degree-holder fighter,” she said.

The atomweight standout later detailed how others with the opportunity to go to college should make the most out of it as she hopes to break the stigma of professional fighters not valuing the importance of education.

“Gone were the days when athletes were branded as ‘not-academic-centered’ or simply ‘not smart,’ at least in Team Lakay. However, we should not also dismiss the fact that not everyone is lucky to be given or have the chance or the means to continue their education, athletes or non-athletes,” she explained.

Speaking about her ambitions outside of the cage, Olsim told Icasiano that she will be pursuing her dreams of becoming a lawyer very soon, but not so soon as to derail her own fighting career.

“Being a lawyer requires a lot of time, commitment and responsibility, plus the brain. I'm passionate about the law and I love debates. But I also know that great things take time, so I'll likely become a lawyer in due course and time. For now, I'm giving myself some time to devote entirely to my sporting career before I start law school,” she stated.

The Filipina also shared with Icasiano that earning her degree now allows her to focus more on her exploits in the cage as she has all the time in the world to dedicate to her training.

“Yes, this time will be different. I'll be concentrating more on advancing my MMA career. I have more time now, I’m more focused and more driven. I have my eyes set on that golden strap, you know,” she shared, hinting at her goal of challenging for the atomweight title that Angela Lee currently holds.

Olsim has been on a roll lately, after falling short in the semifinal round of the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix last year.

The 25-year-old native of Benguet, Philippines captured the bronze medal in the Vietnamese martial art of Vovinam at the recently-concluded 31st Southeast Asian Games and then returned to action in MMA a few weeks later to decision Julie Mezabarba at ONE 158.

With Olsim far from leaving her career behind, she detailed her immediate plans for her prizefighting career.

“I'm currently preparing to climb the atomweight division rankings by starting to battle Jihin Rudzuan. I hope ONE will give her to me. We were supposed to fight several times anyway. I’m up, ready anytime anywhere,” she proudly declared.

Olsim and Radzuan were supposed to fight at ONE: Bad Blood last February 11, but the former was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury.

Because of this, Olsim has reason to go after the No. 5-ranked Radzuan as she handed Japanese grappler Itsuki Hirata her first loss at ONE X this past March.

Olsim's dedication to both her training and becoming a lawyer could see her become a practicing lawyer that competes in MMA matches, making her a unique attraction in the fight game and in the courtroom.

Jenelyn Olsim of Team Lakay
Jenelyn Olsim of Team Lakay ONE Championship photo