Boxing world champion Claressa Shields signed with PFL earlier in December, in a dramatic career shift. It was reported by MMA Junkie that the two-time Olympic gold medalist was transitioning to MMA with PFL, but would not fight until 2021.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Claressa Shields has given an update on the timeline of her pro-MMA debut.
Claressa Shields to debut in May or June next year
PFL announced on December 1 that the Women's pound-for-pound #1 boxer had signed with them. The company also shared a special video package of Claressa Shields:
The official date of her first MMA bout is yet to be announced, but Claressa Shields says it could be sometime around May or June next year:
"We already have a deadline for that. 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."
Since signing a multi-year MMA deal with PFL, Claressa Shields has been preparing at the same academy as Jon Jones and Holly Holm. Jones has even shared video clips of Shields training, praising her athleticism and work ethic.
Any fighter awaiting their promotional debut needs to train hard for the occasion. But Claressa Shields has a lot of people to prove wrong. There are those who doubt whether or not the boxing world champion can succesfully transition from one sport to the other:
"Listen, I’m excited and I’m just ready to prove everybody wrong. 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.'"
Claressa Shields is aiming to put in 10,000 hours of training
Claressa Shields might be the No. 1 women's boxer on the planet, but it's clear she is not taking MMA lightly:
"I’m not an egotistic person. 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 10 more days to put in more time."
Shields is the unified women's middleweight champion in boxing, and also one of only eight boxers in the world to have held all four major boxing world championships simultaneously.Published 27 Dec 2020, 20:34 IST