Claressa Shields already reigns over boxing with two Olympic gold medals {and professional} titles in three weight lessons.

Her subsequent world to beat is blended martial arts.

Shields has signed with the Skilled Fighters League in a quest to change into the primary girl to carry simultaneous titles in each MMA and boxing, she instructed The Related Press on Monday. She is going to make her debut subsequent 12 months, and she or he hopes to have two or three MMA fights together with two boxing matches throughout 2021 earlier than she makes an attempt to win the PFL title in 2022.

“I am not making an attempt to do that for present,” Shields instructed the AP. “I am actually taking this severely. I am not considering that simply because my fingers are higher than all people else that I am going to win. I am actually going to strengthen the issues that I am weak at.”

Shields realizes she faces a steep studying curve as she prepares to battle as a 155-pound light-weight within the PFL. She remains to be comparatively new to jiu-jitsu, wrestling and kickboxing: “I’ve by no means kicked anyone in my life, not even in a road battle!” she mentioned.

However Shields is a singular athlete with a piece ethic to match, and she or he is assured in her capacity to grasp different types of hand-to-hand fight with the correct coaching.

“I am not entering into right here figuring out I will beat these women simply because I can outbox them,” Shields mentioned. “I will must get away from takedowns. Take some kicks. Make some kicks. Take some knees. I’ve to get used to getting grabbed, as a result of in boxing, when a lady grabs me, I dang close to need to slam her.

I need to be nice at every thing. I am right here to make my presence recognized to all people I get within the cage with.— Olympic boxing champion-turned MMA fighter Claressa Shields

“I actually really feel that me in opposition to every other girl, it doesn’t matter what it’s, she’s not going to have the ability to beat me.”

Many fighters have tried the transfer Shields is making in each instructions. Champion boxer Holly Holm famously modified sports activities and knocked out Ronda Rousey to win a UFC belt, whereas Conor McGregor parlayed his UFC success into one wildly profitable boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.

Blended response from household

Shields’ curiosity in making an attempt MMA has been rumoured for years, and she or he additionally expressed curiosity in taking over UFC champions Amanda Nunes and Cris “Cyborg” Justino in a boxing ring. Now that the speak is actual, Shields is keen to do the work essential to make her daring desires into actuality.

“I simply need to be nice at every thing,” she mentioned. “I hate shedding. I have not misplaced a battle since I used to be 17 years previous. I am not right here for a great time. I am right here to make my presence recognized to all people I get within the cage with. You are not getting in there and simply combating in opposition to a boxer. You are getting in there in opposition to one of many biggest ladies’s fight sports activities athletes to ever dwell.”

Shields is popping to MMA however not quitting boxing. The undisputed middleweight champion desires to change into the primary feminine boxer to carry that distinction in two weight lessons. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Pictures/File)

Shields’ household reacted with various levels of disbelief when she instructed them about her determination over Thanksgiving. Her mom did not consider it, and her sister angrily warned Shields in opposition to making an attempt to battle males (that is not occurring) — however her father and boyfriend each have been excited for her.

Shields, from Flint, Mich., hasn’t settled on a coaching routine or a house MMA health club, however she desires “to coach with a few of the greatest MMA fighters and coaches [to] pace up my course of,” she mentioned.

She has spoken to former UFC gentle heavyweight champion Jon Jones about coaching with him in Albuquerque, and she is going to speak to different MMA stars about coaching dates. Shields mentioned she is going to depend on her trainers to inform her when she’s able to step right into a cage.

Boxing has all the time been a sexist sport. Till they begin treating the ladies pretty, ladies’s boxing won’t ever go to the place we’re presupposed to go.– Shields on her frustration with boxing business

Shields intends to work her means up in competitors stage in 2021 with a collection of one-off PFL fights. The promotion usually conducts a yearly event with a $1 million US grand prize, and Shields hopes to be within the 2022 discipline.

Shields’ final boxing match was in January, however she is not quitting that sport: She plans to announce a brand new date quickly for her postponed junior middleweight world title battle with Marie-Eve Dicaire wherein she is going to try to unify 4 154-pound championship belts.

Shields is already the undisputed middleweight champion, and she or he desires to change into the primary feminine boxer to carry that distinction in two weight lessons. Shields is 10-Zero as a professional boxer, and she or he is not fearful in regards to the time she’ll spend on MMA interfering along with her boxing profession.

“I can field in my sleep,” she mentioned with fun. “That is what I used to be born to do. Boxing is simply in me. I am going to always remember learn how to field. Even after I’m 80 years previous, a lady higher not attempt me, as a result of she’ll nonetheless be in for a complete heap of hassle. … While you become older, you discover ways to prepare smarter, not tougher. To coach good will likely be what I attempt to do all through my complete MMA profession.”

Shields insists her main motivation is to win belts in each sports activities, however she has acknowledged frustration with the boxing business’s lack of ability to make her a star on the extent of her male counterparts or MMA’s high feminine athletes.

“I am not upset with boxing, however boxing has all the time been a sexist sport,” Shields mentioned. “Till they begin treating the ladies pretty, ladies’s boxing won’t ever go to the place we’re presupposed to go. Even males’s boxing is at a standstill proper now. That is as a result of they simply will not be honest, and the boxing gods see that.”

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