One of the rising stars of martial arts has signed on with one of the biggest martial arts organizations in the world.

Danielle Kelly, the 26-year-old grappling ace from New Jersey, has risen to prominence over the last few years as an emerging new star of the grappling circuit.

And now, after establishing herself in the wider martial arts world with crossover bouts against notable MMA names including Cynthia Calvillo, Roxanne Modafferi, and former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza, Kelly has put pen to paper on a deal with one of MMA’s biggest promotions.

In an Instagram post over the weekend, Kelly announced she has signed with Asia’s top MMA organization ONE Championship and teased a switch to MMA “when I’m ready.”


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A post shared by Danielle Kelly (@daniellekellybjj)

She posted:

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.

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.

I would like to thank @johnnylaw845 @smashpassjay @silverfoxbjj for helping me with this process. I am grateful to be surrounded by amazing people.

Thank you @yodchatri for this opportunity and am looking forward to doing great things with ONE🙌🏻🤙🏼💪🏼

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Kelly has also joined the Singapore-based MMA gym Evolve MMA, which has been the home to some of ONE’s most prominent signings over the years.


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A post shared by Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri)

ONE president and CEO Chatri Sityodtong welcomed Kelly to the organization with an Instagram post of his own.

He posted:

Please join me in welcoming Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Superstar Danielle Kelly to ONE! She will be competing in both submission grappling and MMA on the world’s largest stage of martial arts. She is a longtime student of the amazing Professor Karel “Silver Fox” Pravec, an original Renzo Gracie Black Belt.

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.

Welcome again to ONE, Danielle! #WeAreONE

Kelly is likely to feature in grappling-based competition initially, but may eventually transition to MMA and join the organization’s talent-packed women’s atomweight division, which contains the likes of former kickboxing and Muay Thai champion Stamp Fairtex and reigning women’s atomweight champion Angela Lee.