Claressa Shields Out To Prove Boxers Can Succeed In MMA
With plans to make her professional MMA debut in 2021, three division boxing world champion Claressa Shields is out to prove a point.
Shields is one of the very few elite boxers who has dared to enter the world of mixed martial arts. After signing with the PFL last month, she revealed that she plans to compete in two or three one-off fights, before entering the promotion’s lightweight tournament in the coming years.
Proving The Doubters Wrong
News that Shields was making the switch from boxing to MMA at 25 years old, was met with much scepticism from many in the MMA community. Speaking to MMA Fighting however, the two time Olympic gold medalist promised to prove the doubters wrong.
“Listen, I’m excited and I’m just ready to prove everybody wrong,” Shields said. “Not everybody but all the doubters. It seems like everybody keeps saying like ‘Oh anybody that’s come from boxing can’t be successful in MMA.’ Like they say look at James Toney and I kind of laugh cause James Toney was 42 years old. I’m 25. He was also 42 years old and he went in there, I don’t know how long he prepared, but he fought against one of the best guys that they had (Randy Couture). It’s like not that I wouldn’t do that, but I’m preparing. I’m taking it one step at a time.”
‘T-Rex’ has little doubt that she is the best female boxer in the world, but she also understands that she still has a lot to learn about MMA fighting. The undefeated boxer is putting in the hours with former UFC champions Jon Jones and Holly Holm at Jackson Wink to sharpen her skill set.
“I’m not an egotistic person,” Shields said. “I am the best woman’s fighter in the world. There is no other woman fighter in boxing that can beat me in boxing, for sure. But going over to a whole other sport and saying that, it’s just not true now. I have to work my way up from the bottom and learn and train and drill. Put in that 10,000 hours to be great at something. I haven’t put in that 10,000 hours yet but I’ve put in a hell of a lot of time in just this past week and I’ve got ten more days to put in more time.”
MMA Debut In The PFL
Shields plans to compete in boxing and MMA simultaneously, and is expected to box in February, before hopefully making her mixed martial arts debut a few months later.
“We already have a deadline for that,” Shields revealed. “That’s why I’m already working now and learning right now. I’m looking forward to fighting in May-June next year, my MMA pro debut.”
While she is expected to debut next year, Shields won’t be competing in the PFL tournament until at least 2022. But once she is comfortable with her MMA arsenal, she plans on fighting the best the PFL has to offer, including Kayla Harrison.
“The PFL is all about controlling your own destiny,” Shields said. “So if me and Kayla Harrison is in the same tournament, if we’re in the same season and we both have to fight our way to the top. So who knows who I’ll be fighting against. It may be Kayla, it may not who’ll be in the finals. Cause I envision myself being able to make it to the finals in 2022.”
Shields will compete in the PFL’s lightweight division, as she does not think her body can cut down to 145lbs to fight at featherweight.
“I’m a 154, 160 and 168 pound fighter in boxing,” Shields said. “So I’m going to fight 155 but UFC doesn’t have 155, and I don’t think that my body can make 145.”
How do you think Claressa Shields will do in MMA?