Dana White Gives Claressa Shields Update, Cyborg Says She’ll Help Her
Despite the sceptics among the MMA community, Claressa Shields remains serious about making a switch from boxing to MMA. So much so that talks have began between her and the UFC president, Dana White.
Since challenging Amanda Nunes to a boxing contest last July, Shields has stated on numerous occasions that she intends to switch to MMA. Towards the end of last year, the two time Olympic gold medalist boxer declared that she would make her MMA debut in 2020. She was then invited to UFC 245 by Dana.
Then earlier this month, Shields said that she planned to train with Jon Jones at JacksonWink MMA Academy. With the 24 year old appearing to be getting more and more serious about making the switch, Dana gave an update, whilst talking to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter ahead of UFC 246.
“Listen, you don’t have to be a genius to put the pieces of that puzzle together. Claressa Shields was here, her and I met, she came to the fight. And we’ve obviously been talking back-and-forth. She wants to get into MMA, I’m getting into boxing. I bet people would like to watch that fight.”
But while all the talk has been on making Shields vs Nunes, Claressa’s friend Cris Cyborg, has said that she would like to see her ease her way into MMA.
“If it was my athlete, I would make some fights in MMA first,” Cyborg told MMA Fighting, when discussing Shields.
Although Cyborg is advicing Shields to bide her time, the former UFC featherweight champion believes that she can achieve great things in the sport, and said that if she can help, she will.
“I think with everything, she can be great. And people are going to love her, too. If I’m able to help her – if I have the opportunity – for sure.
“I think we need to see how fast she can catch [on to] stuff. If we train together, how she practices and how fast she gets it. But young kids learn it very fast. She can use her boxing, which is amazing. She just needs some details and learn her jiu-jitsu and wrestling.”
Shields isn’t the only boxer with aspirations of conquering the MMA world. Over the last few months, the lineal heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, has expressed his desire to switch to MMA, and has even trained with UFC middleweight contender, Darren Till.
As for Shields, Cyborg believes that if she wants to become a two sport world champion, then she should follow her dreams.
“A young girl likes to do what she wants, and if [Shields] wants to fight Amanda and beat her, she should follow her heart and do her best.”
Shields is the current WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO and The Ring middleweight, and WBC and WBO light middleweight world champion. And remains unbeaten in her professional career. Speaking to ESPN, her manager Mark Taffet said that while his fighter is serious about competing in MMA, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she will stop boxing.
“There hasn’t been a conversation about moving full time. It’s all been a discussion about being the next great two-sport athlete,” Taffet said.
‘T-Rex’ said earlier this month that she had began a little bit of MMA training. Now according to Taffet, the next step is to find the right team to help her reach her new goals.
“She got her feet wet athletically, her toe in the water athletically. The next step for us would be to look at a few different trainers and coaches and speak to them and then decide who an appropriate coach and trainer would be and then make a plan for her to begin training while she continues to blaze trails in boxing.”
Although Shields has not set herself a timescale, Taffet stated that she intends to make her MMA debut this year.
“Claressa doesn’t put timetables on it because she is carefully and rigorously investigating all aspects of the sport and the organisations. But we would like to do something in the cage at the end of 2020 or surely within twelve months.”
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