Danielle Kelly was signed to ONE Championship in early 2022 as the promotion accelerated its expansion of submission grappling. After her impressive debut against Mei Yamaguchi at ONE X in March, Kelly pocketed a $50,000 bonus and introduced herself to the world of combat sports.
Since then, there has been a lot of speculation regarding the timing of Kelly’s return to the circle. While the American has repeatedly said her focus is on submission grappling, a budding rivalry with ONE atomweight women’s world champion Angela Lee has fueled rumors that the submission grappling star may be moving into the arts. mixed martial arts sooner rather than later.
Speaking to ONE Championship, Kelly revealed that she has trained in wrestling throughout her martial arts journey, likely to help her eventual transition into MMA. When and where this happens is anyone’s guess. Danielle Kelly has no intention of rushing things, but she has worked hard to round up her skills.
“I started wrestling after I joined jiu-jitsu, about six months later. I wrestled until my senior year or freshman year in college. I was doing folkstyle in school and I was freestyling outside because I was planning on going to college for freestyle.
Danielle Kelly is thrilled to have her first MMA fight in ONE Championship
At only 26 years old, Danielle Kelly has already established herself as one of the biggest names in submission grappling. His addition to the ONE Championship roster has helped solidify his status as one of the best in the world, but Kelly is already eyeing a future in MMA.
In an interview with Jiu-Jitsu Times, Danielle Kelly spoke of her excitement about jumping into the world of MMA and suspects that other submission grappling stars under the ONE banner will be looking to make the same leap to their own pace.
“[MMA] is something new, and it’s something that I’ve found that really excites me. I want to improve, so it motivates me to do better. And I always said to myself, since I was a kid, that I wanted to fight. So if I’m going to have my first MMA fight – which I am – it will be under ONE, which really excites me. Additionally, many of these well-known grapplers sign [with ONE]and could fight [MMA] too, so it’s really exciting and it motivates me a lot.