Danielle Kelly has shared the secret to her success. But the bad news for anyone looking to emulate the ONE Championship star is that apparently there are no short cuts.

Kelly had a difficult upbringing with both her parents dying when she was young. But the 27 year old went on to become one of the top grapplers in the world and says that her success is due to ‘hard work’, not ‘luck’:


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The hard way

Kelly is clearly used to doing things the hard way. She did not have a normal childhood and only took up jiu jitsu because she was being bullied at school.

While she went from strength to strength in her grappling career Kelly has had to endure some tough times and losing her parents at such a young age meant she didn’t have the sort of support that most young athletes can rely on:

I didn’t have much support coming up. If I did it was very little. Being on my own for years I had to jumble school, work, and training while coming up in the ranks to catch up with people my level. And on top of all of these at a point I didn’t have a set place to stay.

But Kelly thinks that these tough times made her stronger. She believes this difficult period in her life gave her the mental strength required to train and compete at the highest level:

Whenever I’m frustrated at training I think about the worse times and how it made me feel. I basically tell myself to stop being a baby, it could be worse. I work hard now knowing the struggles I’ve had. There’s no “luck”.


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Title eliminator

Next up for Kelly is a submission grappling bout at Lumpinee Stadium. She is set to take on Ayaka Miura at ONE Fight Night 7 which was recently moved from Jakarta to Bangkok.

A win would leave Kelly in pole position for a shot at the inaugural atomweight submission grappling title when that is introduced. The only question would be who ONE Championship could find to face the American.

She earned $50,000 USD for her performance when drawing with Mei Yamaguchi on her ONE Championship debut. Kelly has been successful in her career by any criteria, just don’t call her lucky!