In late 2019, three-division world boxing champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields first announced her plans to crossover into mixed martial arts. Here’s what she told the media during UFC 245’s festivities in December.
“I feel like I have a chance now, but once we go to the ground and stuff, I have to learn that. Me being an Olympic athlete, I know that I can learn a different sport and catch on quicker than just a regular person.
“If they put me in 4 oz gloves, they’ll be calling me Muhammad Ali because these hands will be floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.”
On Monday night, these plans were finally confirmed when the 25-year-old undefeated boxer signed with PFL, and is expected to compete in their lightweight division. MMA Junkie first reported the news.
A follow-up tweet by The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger stated that Shields will make her debut on April 23rd. She is also expected to carry on with her boxing career at the same time.
Sources tell me and @pugboxing: @Claressashields has signed a multi-fight deal with @ProFightLeague and is expected to debut April 23. She’ll continue to box and is slated to fight Marie-Eve Diclaire in Jan or Feb. @MMAjunkie first on Shields to PFLhttps://t.co/kA4BysGZxl— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) December 1, 2020
Shields holds a 10-0 record in boxing. She last competed in January against Ivana Habazin and emerged victorious via unanimous to win both the WBC and WBO light middleweight titles.