One of the most decorated female boxers of all time has signed with Professional Fighters League to confirm her transition to mixed martial arts.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields will compete in the PFL lightweight division away from the promotion’s season format in 2021, instead fighting in standalone bouts like fellow Olympic champion Kayla Harrison does according to MMA Junkie.
In addition to Olympic gold, Shields is one of the fighters to hold boxing championships with all four major organisations WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO and holds an unbeaten professional record of 10-0 on top of a near-perfect amateur record of 77-1.
Unlike many other fighters switching from boxing to MMA, Shields hasn’t even reached her pugilistic prime just yet and is aged just 25-years-old – making her an even more interesting proposition for PFL.
In addition to dipping her toe in the MMA world, Shields says she will continue boxing in 2021 – but she is excited to see if she can become a world champion in both sports.
“I wanted to test myself,” Shields told ESPN. “I want to see if I can be a world champion in boxing and a world champion in MMA. That’s something I want to test myself on. I’m not saying boxing is easy, but I’ve been on top of the world for almost 14 years now.”
Shields has long been talking to the media about a potential career in mixed martial arts and has been present at UFC events – most notably when she watched UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes defeat Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245 last December.
In light of the news, the Flint, Michigan native assures the MMA fanbase that she is for real and taking her MMA career highly seriously.
“I was telling MMA fans, I’m not just a talker,” Shields added. “I know that’s what they are used to, all these clout chasers out there. I’m like, the real deal. Anything I say I can do, I put my best foot forward and I do it. I haven’t lost a fight since I was 17 years old, and I’m 25. I had 77 wins as an amateur, one loss. I’m 10-0 as a pro.
“I’m not coming to MMA to lose. The next time they see me in the cage, I’m gonna have muscles coming out my damn neck training so hard to win.”