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Jessa Khan and Angela Lee: Danielle Kelly talks about the fights that interests

LockerRoom Team
22 December 2022

This year has been significant for Danielle Kelly, who has utilized her outings in ONE Championship to assert herself into the women’s submission grappling world.

Kelly made history this past March at ONE X when she took part in ONE’s first-ever women’s submission grappling match against MMA pioneer Mei Yamaguchi.

The anticipated bout broke barriers for female grapplers around the world in what was an exciting 10 minutes inside the Circle. Though she battled to a draw, the BJJ black belt earned a US$50,000 bonus for the performance.

Kelly returned this past November at ONE Fight Night 4: Abbasov vs. Lee against an adversary who was expected to pose many challenges – Sambo World Champion Mariia Molchanova. 

Instead, the American quickly submitted the Russian in just over two minutes, earning yet another bonus as she guns for the top spot at atomweight.

Kelly looks back on 2022 with a sense of success. However, the trajectory she’s been on and the ascension of submission grappling within ONE has also taken her aback. 

“It was probably the best year for jiu-jitsu and being a jiu-jitsu athlete,” Kelly said. “Looking back, I wasn’t expecting to be in that spot at all. It meant a lot to be able to be the first jiu-jitsu women’s grappling match for ONE. I worked really hard.”

ALSO READ | Dern and Maia: Danielle Kelly lists UFC names she wants to grapple after Rose

Kelly achieved a plethora of goals this year, and she knows it’ll take something special to outdo the previous 12 months. Not one to get caught up in her own hype, the Philadelphia native will continue to keep the performances coming.

With historic outings already notched on her belt, her accolades haven’t gone unnoticed by some of ONE’s biggest stars. In fact, Kelly plans to make more special moments in 2023 – and now she’s eyeing up the atomweight throne against the division’s biggest name.

“Angela Lee – I only called her out because she said she can submit me. I like easy matches. I said it before. No hard feelings. But you know, I mean, if I’m such an easy match, then just take the match,” Kelly said.

ALSO READ | Danielle Kelly interested in Rose Namajunas match after win over Carla Esparza

“If ONE would do a women’s World Title, I would love to go against Jessa Khan. People think I’m dodging jiu-jitsu people, but I’ve been studying her, so I hope I get that match.”

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