Danielle Kelly believes her renewed motivation will lead to a win against Jessa Khan when the pair run it back later this week.
Over the past year and a half, Kelly has been unbeatable in ONE Championship, leading to two sensational victories and just as many US$50,000 performance bonuses. Now that she’s considered a BJJ superstar, the 27-year-old American plans to capitalize on an upcoming legacy-defining opportunity.
On Friday, September 29, the Silver Fox BJJ affiliate will take on Khan at ONE Fight Night 14 for the inaugural ONE women’s atomweight submission grappling world title.
There will be added stakes between the world-class grapplers, as Jessa Khan defeated Danielle Kelly at a WNO event in February 2021. Kelly can now potentially kill two birds with one stone by avenging a loss and making history by becoming the first female submission grappling world champion in ONE.
During an interview with Morning Kombat, Danielle Kelly opened up about her upcoming match and how renewed motivation could play a factor:
“I feel every match gets bigger and I feel like with this match, I lost to her [Jessa] previously but there’s a spark in me and I feel like I’m performing out there on a big stage for a reason. My mom at one point wanted me to quit jiu-jitsu because she felt like it wasn’t a good career which is fine and I guess from a mom’s point of view, they don’t want you to stick to something that’s not as popular.”
Kelly continued by saying:
“But being there improving and saying, “Hey Mom look at me, this is what I’m doing”, it brings me a lot of drive. I’m here now, I get to do this, making my parents proud but my mom would probably in a million years never thought that I’d be in the position I’m in, so you know, it brings a lot of drive.”
Danielle Kelly last competed on February 24, defeating Ayaka Miura by unanimous decision. Meanwhile, Jessa Khan hasn’t competed under the ONE banner, but she did improve her resume earlier this year by winning a gold medal at the 2023 IBJJF World Championships.
Danielle Kelly vs. Jessa Khan is one of three world title matchups going down inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday. The entire ONE Fight Night 14 event can be seen live and for free by North American viewers with an active Amazon Prime Video subscription.