Claressa Shields is all set to make her debut in Mixed Martial Arts this year, after an extremely successful boxing career of five years already under her belt.
Shields had signed a three-year contract with the PFL last year in November and had started training for her MMA debut immediately. She is slated to fight Brittney Elkin at PFL 4 on June 10.
MMA is one of the toughest sports on the planet and only a few boxers make the decision to switch from Boxing to MMA. Shields is one of those few people, but she also revealed why most boxing superstars don’t want to fight in MMA.
“They don’t have to, if that makes sense. It’s just extra work,” Shields said in an interview with The MacLife’s Oscar Willis.
“With me being 26 is like extra work is needed for me because my overall picture of me being a champion and me being a champ is not what everybody else thinks. People think like you’re a 12-time world champ, what else do you want? What it’s like for me, I got stuff inside me that I want, that people may not understand, you know? That’s why I’m here at MMA.
“With the men, I think they can train like this for a month. But I think. a lot of professional men would be like ‘Hell no, we’re not doing that’ because it really is challenging and a lot of professional champion men don’t know how to humble themselves, even in boxing,” she added.
Shields also weighed in on the Boxing vs MMA debate. She said that MMA is a much tougher sport as it requires you to be strong in different aspects, skills and techniques. Boxing, according to her, doesn’t require so many skills — players just need to find ways of building themselves tough in order to put up a decent fight.
“There’s a lot of boxers who say ‘Oh I’ll kick this person’s a*s or I’ll do this’ but it’s like ‘Well you fight them in the cage.’ And the answer has always been ‘No’. Floyd Mayweather didn’t get in the cage with Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor got in the ring with Floyd though,” Shields said.
“In a way, boxing is hard, yeah, I have been doing it for 15 years – one loss my entire life. But it’s like, MMA training is so much harder, because there’s so many different arts. So many different ways to do one thing,” she added.
Shields has also gone on to draw high praise from the likes of Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Holly Holm. McGregor has even gone on to say that Shields has courage that even some of her male counterparts don’t.