‘I don’t really see too much’ – Jessa Khan is unthreatened by Danielle Kelly’s strengths

Jessa Khan isn’t worried about what Danielle Kelly brings to the table in their World Title match at ONE Fight Night 14.

Fresh off a gold-medal-winning performance at the 2023 IBJJF Worlds, Jessa Khan is brimming with confidence going into her ONE Championship debut this Friday night.

On September 29, at ONE Fight Night 14: Stamp vs. Ham on Prime Video, the Art of Jiu-Jitsu representative will take on Danielle Kelly for the inaugural ONE atomweight submission grappling world title.

The clash is a rematch of the pair’s 2021 encounter which took place at Who’s Number One. In that match, Khan – then competing for the first time as a black belt – largely dominated position and submission attacks to secure a decision victory.

Khan says she plans to approach the rematch in the same way, but this time, she’s putting extra focus on scoring a submission finish.

“I beat her before and I tried to rewatch how I did that,” Khan said in an interview with ONE Championship. “And I’m pretty much gonna try to duplicate that for the next match. And, you know, also try to fix some small details. That way, we can actually get her to submit.”

After sharing the mat with Kelly for 15 minutes, Khan walked away relatively unimpressed.

Outside of some quality wrestling, the 21-year-old sees Kelly’s biggest strength as her submission defense.

“To be honest, I don’t really see too much. Maybe her takedowns. I know in the other match we did, she was able to take me down. So I’d say she has some pretty good wrestling. She’s very flexible, [which is] good [for her] defense. But for the most part, that’s all I really see. I’m not really too focused on her game because I want to just pretty much focus on myself. And whatever she does, or tries to do, I’m gonna have an answer to that.”

While she’s confident she’ll be ahead of Kelly in the technical exchanges, Khan does credit her foe for having more experience competing in ONE. 

Kelly is undefeated through three submission grappling bouts in the organization – two of which took place in ONE’s Circle.

“I think she definitely has more experience, like, being a little bit more active in ONE,” Khan said. “But I’ve been still very active in the game. It’s a different atmosphere during those IBJJF tournaments and stuff. But yeah, I’m sure she’s definitely more comfortable in ONE, and especially fighting in the cage. But I think, anywhere I go, I’m down to fight.”

Despite that gap in experience in ONE, Khan thinks it is Kelly who will feel more pressure heading into the World Title matchup.

“It helps me to know that I already beat her once. So, you know, it’s more her that needs to prove herself, not me,” she said.

Ultimately, Khan is confident she’ll leave Singapore a ONE world champion. But for her, the real goal is finishing the job she started in 2021 and scoring a submission.

“Like I said, my main goal is to try to get a submission. That kind of bugged me in our fight that we did. The first time, it was 15 minutes, I had more time, but I still wasn’t able to submit her even though I tried multiple times. So I’m definitely going to try to fix whatever went wrong in that match. That way, I can actually get a submission. So that’s something that’s been bugging me. So this time, I’m definitely going to try to get a finish this time.”

How to watch: ONE Fight Night 14: Stamp vs. Ham on Prime Video takes place on Friday, September 29, and will air live on Prime Video (free with Amazon Plus subscription) beginning at 8 PM ET.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

Ben Coate has 1190 posts and counting. See all posts by Ben Coate