BJJ Star Danielle Kelly Signs With ONE Championship

Feb 19, 2022
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu star Danielle Kelly

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu star Danielle Kelly has just soared to new heights in the world of martial arts.

Kelly revealed on Friday, 18 February, that she has officially signed a deal with ONE Championship to compete in submission grappling matches while she prepares for an eventual debut in MMA – which will also take place in ONE. 

The 25-year-old BJJ black belt added that she’ll be training out of Evolve MMA in Singapore, home to some of the biggest names in the organization.

Posting on Instagram, Kelly said:

“Happy to announce I am officially a @onechampionship athlete. I am also proud to be apart of @evolvemma. I’ll be doing grappling bouts under them and when I’m ready to do MMA they’ll be the promotion I’ll fight under.”

Over the past decade, ONE has thrilled fans by not only showcasing top-class mixed martial arts bouts, but also fights in other disciplines, such as Muay Thai, kickboxing, and, of course, submission grappling.

In May 2017, ONE made history when it included a submission grappling contest at ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES. There, Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki took on Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon in a grappling super-fight, and Tonon submitted Aoki with a heel hook. 

With Kelly’s arrival – alongside the recent influx of superstar grapplers like Gordon Ryan, Andre Galvao, and Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida – it won’t be long before another ONE submission grappling match makes headlines.

Chatri Sityodtong Praises Danielle Kelly’s BJJ 

Danielle Kelly’s bio is filled with grappling accolades. In 2020, the Philadelphia-bred star earned her BJJ black belt under Karel “Silver Fox” Pravec. Since then, she’s been a major player in the submission grappling scene in the United States.

At 26 years old, Kelly has competed against some of the best grapplers in the world, including multiple-time IBJJF World Champion Sofia Amarante, who she beat via rear-naked choke.

She also has wins over veteran martial artists like Carla Esparza, Roxanne Modafferi, and Cynthia Calvillo, making her one of the most sought after submission grapplers in the world.

Those accolades caught the attention of ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, who announced her signing on his Instagram and Facebook accounts on Friday.

For me, Danielle has the potential to be the next big thing in martial arts. She is an extraordinary talent with dominant finishing abilities and a real killer instinct. She also has a touching life story of adversity and triumph that will inspire the world. Equally important, Danielle is a wonderful human being with a heart of gold.

Now she gets a chance to highlight her BJJ prowess on a much bigger stage with ONE Championship. And while there’s still no concrete plans for her yet, Kelly couldn’t hide her excitement in joining the largest martial arts organization in the world.

Kelly added: 

“I can’t put into words how much this means to me, I try my best to be the best I can be whether that’s on or off the mats. I love what ONE represents.”

Kelly’s ONE Championship debut has not been announced just yet, but details behind the BJJ star’s first promotional appearance will be confirmed soon. Stay tuned to for more details.

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