Boxing champion Claresa Shields makes the leap to mixed martial arts.
Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who set a 10-0 record in her professional boxing career after making 77-1 as an amateur, has signed a contract with the PFL that will see her in transitional sports.
Two people familiar with the situation told MMA Junkie about the signing of Shields on Monday, but asked for anonymity because the PFL has not yet made an official announcement.
Shields will take one-off lightweight battles with PFL; she will not be competing in the 2021 season. The situation is similar to that made by two-time Olympic judo medalist Kayla Harrison in 201
The new PFL fighter @ClaressaShields talked last year about the transition to MMA and the adjustments he needs to make.
“If they put me in 4oz gloves, they’ll call me Mohammed Ali.”
More about her signing: https://t.co/uetKZ4Hl2D pic.twitter.com/PzE0Qw0fDr
– MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) December 1, 2020
The 25-year-old Shields is expected to continue boxing in 2021, as well as compete in MMA. She has been mentioned in MMA circles for the past few years. There was discussion of potential fights with UFC double champion Amanda Nunes and Bellator champion Cris Cyborg, but these conversations focused mainly on Nunes or Cyborg’s boxing.
However, the idea of competing in MMA was never rejected by Shields. In July 2019, she announced on social media that she would “really” consider fighting for the UFC. In February, a video of Shields training kicks first appeared.
Shields, the undisputed world champion in the women’s middleweight division, is one of only seven boxers in history – men or women – to host the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO World Championships at the same time. She did not fight a unanimous victory over Ivana Habazin last January. The shield weighs 153.4 pounds for this battle.