‘Doubt Me’ – Danielle Kelly Plans To Get Revenge And World Title In Rematch With Jessa Khan

Danielle Kelly ’s reactions after her win against Ayaka Miura at ONE Fight Night 7

Danielle Kelly is ready to prove that she’s the best atomweight submission grappler on the planet – and earn some redemption against an old foe.

On Friday, September 29, the American star will square off with reigning IBJJF World Champion Jessa Khan for the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight Submission Grappling World Title live in U.S. primetime.

That historic showdown is one of three World Title fights slated for ONE Fight Night 14: Stamp vs. Ham on Prime Video at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

But while it will be the first-ever Women’s Submission Grappling World Title bout in ONE, it won’t be the first time Kelly and Khan have shared the mats.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts first met in 2021 at a United States-based submission grappling event, with Khan emerging victorious via decision after 15 minutes of high-paced action.

At the time, Kelly was still making a name for herself on the elite professional circuit, while Khan – then a rookie black belt – was one of the most hyped young athletes in the sport.

Looking back on that match, Kelly told onefc.com that she simply wasn’t in the right headspace:

“I was too much into the media. I was too much into like, ‘I’m really like, nervous. I’m nervous to like go against a high-level grappler.’ And I guess she was one of the first few that I went against, and you know, now my mindset is really different.”

Indeed, since that 2021 defeat, the Philadelphia-bred grappler has picked up her biggest career victories, including a trio of wins under ONE’s bright lights.

Those victories earned her a crack at 26 pounds of gold, and importantly, have her brimming with confidence ahead of the rematch with Khan.

According to Kelly, she’s spent the past two years growing and evolving as a competitor, while her foe has remained mostly stagnant:

“I feel like I know her game really well. My exchanges, my defense, my offense is gonna be way ahead of her and whatever she gives me, you know, I’m gonna give her something back. I train with really tough people, really tough girls. I have an idea what she’s gonna throw at me, and I’ll be ready. I think she’s kind of the same as last time, so we’ll see.”

Danielle Kelly Names Her Ideal Submissions To Finish Jessa Khan

Despite her incredible success in ONE, Danielle Kelly feels like she’s coming into her World Title showdown with Jessa Khan as the underdog.

Because even though her Cambodian-American opponent is making her promotional debut, she’s fresh off a spectacular gold medal-winning performance at the 2023 IBJJF World Championships – the most prestigious gi jiu-jitsu tournament in the world.

Kelly isn’t intimidated by Khan’s accolades, though, even writing “doubt me” on Instagram. Now, she’s ready to show that she’s far from a pushover:

“I feel like I train with the best, and I’m gonna prove that you don’t have to be a World Champion to be better than anyone else. You don’t have to have a bunch of titles. She’s probably the favorite in this match, and I’m gonna prove that you know, I’m not a World Champ, but I think I can submit her. She’s beatable. So that’s what I’m gonna prove.”

The 27-year-old BJJ black belt isn’t just planning to beat Khan and capture the atomweight submission grappling crown – she also aims to do so in highlight-reel fashion.

Specifically, Kelly hopes to pull off one of jiu-jitsu’s rarest and flashiest submissions – the spine-snapping twister. Considering that Khan has suffered a loss via twister before, Kelly thinks she could do the same.

And even if that move isn’t in the cards, she hopes to get the job done with a classic rear-naked choke.

Kelly added:

“I really want a twister because I know she got twistered before, so I’d really like to do that for. The first grappling match to pull off a twister on her or, you know, take her back and choke her out. One of the two.”

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