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Watch: Claressa Shields shows off ground game as MMA transition continues

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The undisputed light middleweight boxing champion is expected to make her MMA debut with the PFL sometime in 2021

Claressa Shields flexes for the camera during a 2020 media appearance.
Claressa Shields flexes for the camera during a 2020 media appearance.
Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

For elite level boxers, the idea of making any kind of long-term transition to MMA often seems like it would carry very little value. Most fighters who reach the championship levels of the fistic art can more than equal any of the highest paydays available in MMA. But, women’s boxing is a somewhat different animal. And with little in the way of major PPV opportunities available, it seems that the opportunities MMA provides women fighters are proving to be a real lure.

At the very least that’s the case for undisputed light middleweight champion Claressa ‘T Rex’ Shields. The 26-year-old multiple time Olympic gold medalist has put together an unbeaten 11-0 pro career in the ring, capturing the WBC, WBO, IBF, WBA, & Ring Magazine title belts in the process. With that kind of success and the bulk of her athletic prime still potentially ahead of her, is it any wonder that Shields is looking for another sport to conquer.

To that end, Shields announced that, as of November 2020, she had begun training at Jackson-Wink MMA to begin her transition into mixed martial arts. Shields signed a three-year deal with the PFL and is expected to make her debut sometime in 2021. So it’s worth asking, just what can Shields bring to the table after six-months of sprawl training?

To answer that question Shields posted a video to her YouTube account.

The video mostly highlights Shields’ work on snap downs and sprawls, transitioning into the wrestling ride from the front headlock, and working on snapdowns into the scrafhold position. Solid fundamentals for a fighter who is likely going to mostly be using the ground game as a way to transition purely to aggressive striking positions.

No word yet on an exact date for Shields’ debut or a potential debut opponent. The PFL returns to action, after a year’s hiatus, on April 23rd in Atlantic City, NJ. The first event of the 2021 season former UFC champion Anthony Pettis taking on crossover boxing sensation and former UFC fighter Clay Collard in the main event.