Jessa Khan might have already beaten Danielle Kelly once. But she has never managed to submit the ONE Championship star and is hoping that might change this month.

The two atomweights will face off for the second time at ONE Fight Night 14. Khan might be making her promotional debut but the 21 year old feels that she has nothing to prove,

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

According to Khan the first fight between them was completely one sided,

“I wasn’t able to submit her, but I was pretty much leading the fight. I was able to hit like ten different submission attempts, and that’s pretty much what won me the fight. She was mostly just defending.”


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Gold medals

Since then she has won a gold medal representing Cambodia at the 2023 SEA Games. More significantly Khan also won the black belt division competing as a featherweight at the IBJJF World Championships earlier this year.

So while Kelly has a bigger reputation in the region after four ONE Championship bouts Khan probably comes into this as the favourite. This time she is determined to finish the fight,

“My main goal is to try to get a submission. That kind of bugged me in our fight. 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.”

Despite dominating the first fight with Kelly it sounds like Khan is haunted by the mistakes she made that day,

“I’m definitely going to try to fix whatever went wrong in that match. That way, I can actually get a submission. That’s something that’s been bugging me.”


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New rules

Initially ONE Championship did not allow anyone to win by decision in submission grappling bouts. The ruleset has now been changed but the scoring criteria strongly incentivizes fighters to look to finish.

Khan says that her game is all about aggression,

“I’m just very aggressive, very active, especially with no-gi. People can’t really hold me down. So I feel like that helps out with my game because I just try to move a lot until I find a way to get to either a good position or to get to a submission.”

The inaugural ONE Championship atomweight submission grappling title will be on the line. While Kelly has already competed four times on this platform Khan will be making her debut.

But the Cambodian American’s accomplishments speak for themselves and she believes that Kelly is not on her level,

“To be honest, I don’t really see too much (in Kelly’s game). Maybe her takedowns, I know in the other match we did, she was able to take me down. So I’d say she has like some pretty good wrestling. She’s very flexible, has good defense. But like I said, for the most part, that’s all I really see.”


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Trademark submission

Khan was able to finish two fellow BJJ black belts with an armbar at the recent IBJJF World Championships. She says it is her trademark submission,

“I’m mainly known for doing armbars and I feel pretty comfortable to hit them from any position.”

If Kelly does manage to take her down again she won’t be panicking. Khan says that she can find the finish regardless of which position she is in,

“Whether I’m on top, on bottom, even if I’m in a bad position, I feel like I always just kind of figure out a way to get to the submission.”