ONE Championship: Lea Bivins wants MMA fight with Danielle Kelly, ‘willing to sign’ for grappling match
- Bivins dares BJJ black belt to ‘step into the Circle’ for an MMA fight, but would also accept a submission grappling match
- American atomweight will make pro MMA debut against Noelle Grandjean at ONE on Prime Video 3 on October 22 in Kuala Lumpur
Lea Bivins has yet to make her ONE Championship debut, but she is already laying the ground work for a big fight in the promotion’s atomweight division.
Bivins, 20, will make her first walk to the Circle at ONE on Prime Video 3 on Saturday, October 22 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, taking on Noelle Grandjean of the France.
It will be the decorated amateur’s first professional fight, and if it goes her way, she is hoping her fellow American Danielle Kelly will be next.
“If I had it my way, I would like to fight Danielle Kelly,” Bivins told the Post from California on Thursday. “I would love to fight her in MMA – or if she offered a grappling match, I’d be willing to sign.”
Kelly, a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, made her ONE debut in March, battling Japan’s Mei Yamaguchi to a draw in a submission grappling match.
After her bout with Yamaguchi, the 25-year-old called for a submission grappling match with atomweight MMA champion Angela Lee. But Bivins, an occasional training partner of Lee, believes Kelly should transition into MMA and work her way to the champion like anybody else.
“I see that she was trying to call Angela out for a grappling match, but I definitely think she should step into the Circle for MMA,” Bivins said.
“I feel like she probably shouldn’t have called out Angela as early in the game as she is. I feel like she should obviously climb the ranks before she calls out such a high-level opponent.”
Kelly, for her part, seems open to fighting Bivins in either submission grappling or MMA.
“Ok where do I sign up?” she wrote on Instagram, responding to Bivins’ call-out, adding it would be “easy money”.
Bivins will meet Grandjean (3-0) on the ONE on Prime Video 3 undercard. She is less experienced than her French foe, who trains out of Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket alongside some of the world’s top fighters. However, she believes her skills and physical tools will carry her to victory.
“I think she’s about 4’11, I’m 5’5, so I do have a big reach and height advantage on her,” Bivins said, sizing up her foe. “I had to bring some shorter people into my camp to get different looks.”
“I’ve been working Muay Thai this entire camp at a whole different Muay Thai school just to get to prepare for that,” the long-time wrestler added. “I’m confident I can stand and bang with her, but if it goes to the ground I do plan on showing some grappling skills.”
“I would love to knock her out because of the Tiger Muay Thai name. I would like to get that under my belt, but getting my hand raised is the goal, so whatever it takes.”
Bivins was originally slated to make her MMA debut at ONE 159 in July, but the fight fell through when her opponent, India’s Zeba Bano, bowed out after missing weight.
The American made no secret of her disdain for Bano after that development, but seems to be ready to let their feud go – unless ONE offers her the match-up in the future.
“It’s water under the bridge for me, but obviously is ONE ever gave me the chance to fight her, I’d love to beat her face in, but as of right now, I’m not too concerned about her,” she said.