Jessa Khan is busy getting ready to make her ONE Championship debut against Danielle Kelly at ONE Fight Night 14on Friday, Sep. 29, and she’s putting in special work for it, given the circumstances.
Not only will the Cambodian-American star’s promotional debut add another chapter to her budding rivalry with Kelly, but they’ll compete for the inaugural ONE women’s atomweight submission grappling championship when they meet.
As the date nears, the nerves are starting to become apparent for Khan.
“I’m starting to feel a little nervous. It’s always a little nervous going against someone that you already beat because then you have that almost like that pressure. Like, you need to beat them again,” she told ONE.
“I feel like they’re definitely hyping this matchup a lot more than they did in the one that we did like two years ago for the superfight. So yeah, I definitely feel a little nervous. All the pressure, you know, ONE, it’s a big event, especially my first time doing a fight with ONE, and the rematch gets done. Yeah. So I’m pretty excited about it.”
Khan already holds a win over Kelly, as she took a decision victory over the American star in 2021. But this time around, the 21-year-old is setting out to make her old foe tap.
“During that match, I wasn’t able to submit her. But I was pretty much leading the fight. I was able to hit like, I felt like 10 different submission attempts. And that’s pretty much what won me the fight,” Khan recalled.
Much has changed since their first meeting – for both women. Kelly has risen to superstar status through ONE’s global platform, and she is unbeaten under the bright lights. Khan has also experienced success. In the gi, she won the 2023 IBJJF World Championships.
Coming into the rematch, the debuting star feels her development has surpassed her opponent’s.
“I pretty much evolved my game. I’ve been going over a lot of like attacks, whether it’s on bottom or top. You know, I’m mainly known for doing arm bars. And I feel pretty comfortable to hit them from any position,” Khan stated.
Kelly claims she has progressed greatly in the last two years, but Khan doesn’t hold the same opinion.
After breaking down footage from her recent performances, she feels she’ll face a similar opponent this coming Friday.
“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, like, some pretty good wrestling. She has like, you know, she’s very flexible as good defense,” Khan said.
“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 going to have an answer to that.”
Confidence is key for the Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy star, and she believes she’s more than ready to take home the win and the gold belt under the ONE global rule set, which favors aggression.
“The fans can definitely expect me to be attacking that whole 10 minutes,” Khan said.
“I’m just very aggressive, very active, especially with the no gi. Like I said, people can’t really hold me down. So I feel like that helps out with my game. Because I just, you know, 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. So that’s what I’m pretty much going to be doing.”
ONE Fight Night 14 airs live on Prime Video on Friday, Sep. 29. The action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is free for all Amazon Prime members based in the U.S. and Canada.
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