It’s only been a few days since it was announced that Claressa Shields signed with PFL, and is expected to be making her professional mixed martial arts debut next year in 2021.
This is incredibly exciting news, we couldn’t have a more exciting transfer of combat sports. It’s great seeing boxers switch to MMA, and vice versa, but it’s always fun seeing talents with well developed hands in our sport.
Now, we get to see her unleash her hands wearing four ounce gloves! Firstly, let’s start off with her boxing career:
Shields is the best female boxer in the world, according to almost all of us fans and media, and according to ESPN. She’s only gone 10-0 thus far into her professional career, but she’s already a nine-time, three-division world champion.
After winning a title in her second professional outing, she defeated Nikki Alder (16-0) when she was just 3-0 herself. She defeated Tori Nelson (18-0-3) when she was 4-0, she defeated Hanna Gabriel (18-1-1) when she was 5-0, she defeated Christina Hammer (24-0) when she was 8-0, and she defeated Ivana Habazin (20-3) in her most recent outing in January 2020 when she was 9-0.
Shields may only have ten professional bouts, but she’s already beat 90% of the best female boxers in the world. Now she wants to try her hand at MMA. She has stated she’d like to compete in both boxing and MMA in 2021, and would like to have two or three bouts of each.
While that would be pretty awesome to see, it’s a bit doubtful. No one fights that often, especially mixing the two sports.
Next we’ll get into what she did as an amateur boxer, before getting into her competing for PFL:
Shields went 77-1 as an amateur before turning professional, having won the Olympics twice, having won the World Championships twice, as well as having won the Pan American Games.
She’s already as accomplished as any female in combat sports, and now she makes her much anticipated MMA debut in 2021, aiming for a May or June date.
What’s so exciting about this is that she’s still only 25-years-old, she has time to really grow in the sport and become great. She’s one of the best athletes on the planet, and she’s got nothing but time to really learn this craft, especially considering the drastic head start she already has in one full contact fighting art.
One might think, though the competition isn’t the highest in PFL, they have a tournament based system for their whole roster, and that this may not be the best organization for her considering. They’ve however agreed to give Shields non-tourney lightweight match ups.
They’re doing the correct thing in order to maximize her growth, and it’s very exciting. Some may have thought it was all talk when she said she’d like to face Amanda Nunes about a year ago, in boxing or MMA. While that may not happen, she wasn’t kidding about the MMA part.
She should be working her kick defense of all sorts, takedown defense, and submission defense extensively in preparation for this. She’ll need to know more than that of course, but with her deep knowledge in boxing, that’s a good start.
It’s a lot different stuffing takedowns than merely throwing hands and defending hands in return, it’s much harder when you’ve got to worry about kicks coming your way. It can be confusing, it’s a lot to pay attention to.
That being said, she is a quick learner, and even if it doesn’t work out for her, she’s still the best female boxer on the planet. Even if her debut doesn’t go her way though, it’d be unexpected seeing her just quit the sport. That’s not her, it’ll most likely just make her all that much more obsessed.
The Michigan native stands 5’8’’ and boasts a 68’’ reach. She’s got strong legs and a strong core, we’re going to go ahead and assume she has strong hips. She just has to learn how to sprawl them into her opponents upon impact, and she’ll be a problem for anyone.
Comment below with what you think we can expect from Claressa Shields in Mixed Martial Arts?
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