“There’s like a fire inside me now” – Danielle Kelly shares how she used past lessons to strengthen mental fortitude


It’s no secret that Danielle Kelly went through one of the toughest childhoods imaginable.

Though she experienced tragedy early in her life, the American grappling sensation used that tremendous adversity to forge her steely personality.

Kelly has always been vocal about her love for her late parents and how she’s dedicated every match of her’s to their memory. She’ll now channel that inner fire once more when she meets with old rival Jessa Khan in possibly the biggest fight of her career.

The two old foes will square off at ONE Fight Night 14 for the inaugural ONE atomweight submission grappling world title on September 29, US primetime, at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

In an interview with ONE Championship, Kelly said she’s used her childhood to fan the competitive flames inside her.

She said:

“There’s like a fire inside me now. I think, you know, looking back, my old matches like I’m totally different. Like I’m doing this, I’m here for a reason. Doing this for my parents and you know, it’s really motivating because seeing my mom struggled and you know. Unfortunately, like they’re not here, so my motivation just kind of goes toward showing them. Like what they’ve done for me and I can prove myself to improve and over time just show.”

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt operates with an inherent intensity inside the circle, where she’s been undefeated in three matches.

Kelly earned a draw against Japanese pioneer Mei Yamaguchi in her ONE Championship debut in March 2022. She’s since submitted Mariia Molchanova in November 2022 and scored a unanimous decision win over Ayaka Miura in February 2023.

She now has the chance to make history when she faces Khan in Singapore for a piece of ONE Championship gold.

ONE Fight Night 14 is available live and free to all Prime Video subscribers in North America.


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