Danielle Kelly is right at the forefront of ONE Championship’s continued expansion into submission grappling. By putting the sport alongside other martial arts disciplines and elite level competitors, submission grappling has the biggest platform it’s ever had.
Apart from providing a global stage for the sport, ONE hopes to make it more appealing and exciting through a ruleset that encourages offense and by having some of the best competitors in the world compete inside the circle.
Alongside Kelly, the Ruotolo brothers are two of the biggest stars who have helped put a shine on submission grappling in ONE Championship.
In an interview with The MMA Superfan, Danielle Kelly spoke about the influence that Kade Ruotolo in particular has had on her personally:
“Kade Ruotolo, he said something recently in a past interview of one of his last matches. I don’t know exactly, I’ll find the quote, but it’s basically, he would rather have a very exciting match, even if he loses, but he’ll be disappointed if he won a match and it was boring. He’s an amazing grappler and he’s number one right now, and hearing him say that is like, ‘Wow.’ My mind just went - I just discovered a new world or a new universe."
"I kept that with me and I’m working on certain things that I need to get ready for grappling matches, but also I don’t want to be that boring person who would just pull guard and hopefully win by one attempt or something.”
Watch the full interview below:
Danielle Kelly defends Mikey Musumeci’s decision to pursue leglock finish of Gantumur Bayanduuren
Danielle Kelly recently defended one of her fellow submission grappling stars in ONE Championship, Mikey Musumeci.
At ONE Fight Night 6 on Prime Video, Musumeci looked to defend his ONE flyweight submission grappling world championship against Gantumur Bayanduuren.
For the majority of their 10-minute contest, Musumeci threatened his opponent’s legs and had caused clear damage. However, Bayanduuren refused to tap out.
Through a display of toughness and stubbornness, he stayed in the contest until the time-limit expired and Musumeci won an absolutely dominant unanimous decision victory.
Some fans on social media criticized Musumeci for refusing to let go of his leglock despite the clear injuries. But in her interview with The MMA Superfan, Danielle Kelly empathized with Mikey Musumeci, coming to his defense after the match has been heavily debated online:
“Everyone out there complaining, I don’t think they’re real competitors and they’re probably hypocritical because if they were in a big stage like that and the other person didn’t want to tap, you want to make sure you’re submitting your opponent to get your prize or win that match. Honestly, I haven’t seen anyone criticize Mikey for doing it, so I don’t know. But anyone giving him issues about it are just not real competitors.”
Kelly did point out in the interview that most of the criticism hasn’t been pointed at the defending world champion. Bayanduuren, on the other hand, has had a lot of questions aimed at him after he refused to tap and sustained career-altering injuries.