“It could be on the level where MMA is” - Danielle Kelly feels submission grappling will rapidly grow under ONE

Danielle Kelly picked up a big win at ONE on Prime Video 4
Danielle Kelly picked up a big win at ONE on Prime Video 4

Danielle Kelly has recently emerged as one of submission grappling’s brightest stars. With ONE Championship’s expansion into the discipline, Kelly has what it takes to become a huge name in combat sports.

At ONE on Prime Video 4, Kelly picked up her first victory inside the circle. The 26-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt completely dominated Mariia Molchanova en route to the submission win. With a fantastic transition, Kelly took Molchanova’s back, then locked in the rear-naked choke just over two minutes into the contest.

While her impressive ONE Championship debut against Mei Yamaguchi ended in a draw, the submission win over sambo world champion Molchanova was the statement Kelly had been waiting for. In an interview with ONE Championship, the American grappler spoke about the platform that ONE Championship has put submission grappling on and where she hopes the sport heads into:

“You know, I think with ONE Championship pushing that, I think it's really good for the sport, especially for both men and women. You know, I think it's a good move and a lot of these jiujitsu matches are very exciting. I think it could be on the level where MMA is.”

With her first submission inside the circle and a second $50,000 bonus from ONE Championship Chatri Sityodtong, Danielle Kelly is on her way to joining the likes of Kade Ruotolo and Mikey Musumeci as ONE’s biggest submission grappling stars.

“I want to make the move to MMA” - Danielle Kelly bares plan to transition to MMA by next year

Danielle Kelly knows that her career is just waiting to explode, and she’s even pondering a mixed martial arts debut this coming 2023. The submission grappling ace has everything she needs to become a star, but she’s not satisfied with becoming a big name in just one sport.

Kelly attended the ADCC 2022 World Championships, though this time, she was merely a fan watching the event instead of being a competitor on the mats. With ONE Championship as one of the event's biggest sponsors, some of the greatest grapplers in the promotion were also in attendance at the event, either joining Kelly in the stands or competing.

In an interview with MMA journalist The Schmo, Kelly spoke about her plans for grappling and MMA and gave a rough time frame for her eventual transition:

“Hopefully soon, I’ll have like one or two more jiu-jitsu matches and then maybe I’ll focus on my first MMA fight next year. I just want to compete in jiu-jitsu first, and then sometime next year I want to make the move to MMA.”

Watch Danielle Kelly's interview with The Schmo below:


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Edited by Allan Mathew
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