Danielle Kelly always has a radiating aura around her, even if she’s heading into a sport that practically folds people in ways a human body shouldn’t.
Her radiating attitude, however, was born of tragic sadness.
In an Instagram post, Kelly said she almost quit Brazilian jiu-jitsu when her mother passed away half a decade ago.
Despite her tragic loss, Kelly persevered and went on to become one of the fastest rising stars in submission grappling.
“My face explains how I was feeling walking into the @onechampionship stage. At a point in my life, I had nothing when I lost my mom five years ago, and I thought I was quitting Jiu-Jitsu altogether. I can’t imagine where I would have been if I made that decision. I worked endlessly every day, the cries, losses were all worth it when this walk was made.”
The 26-year-old holds the fastest submission victory at Who’s Number One, after forcing Jessica Crane to tap via kneebar within three minutes. She also holds wins over IBJJF world champion Sofia Amarante, Roxanne Modafferi, Carla Esparza, and Cynthia Calvillo.
It was in ONE Championship, though, that Kelly announced her presence on the global stage. Kelly had an impressive debut match at ONE X against MMA veteran Mei Yamaguchi, eventually earning her a $50,000 performance bonus.
ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who commented on Kelly’s post, said the submission specialist’s heart is sure to inspire more people given the platform she’s on.
“Beautiful story, Danielle! The world needs to hear your inspirational story. It will inspire so many people to keep fighting for their dreams even on the worst days.”
Danielle Kelly is proud to be part of ONE Championship’s push to US and Canada
From her struggles to starring on the world stage, Danielle Kelly said she’s just starting on her martial arts journey and that she won’t be stopping anytime soon.
Kelly is even more proud now that she's gotten to be part of ONE Championship’s push into the United States and Canada. ONE Championship recently announced a five-year partnership with Prime Video.
In a show of force, the partnership was also announced at New York’s Time Square. On the massive billboard featured a collection of highlights, including a photograph of Kelly.
“Many more to come, and now they’re streaming on @primevideo for US. It feels cool being on the screen in Times Square,” posted Kelly.