Boxing champion Claressa Shields is making the jump over to MMA this year, and one of the UFC’s biggest superstars took to social media upon learning of it to offer the two-time Olympic gold medalist some advice about it. Shields revealed to Heavy just how shocked she was to receive Conor McGregor’s message to her back in December, and how another superstar, as well as an unknown MMA fan, helped her understand exactly what the Irishman’s instructions contained.
McGregor posted that advice on Instagram in response to seeing UFC superstar Jon Jones with Shields at Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“Teach her balancing on the single leg first! Warm up/warm down for EVERY session – Pick the single leg and move her around. Elevate the leg high. Push her back with it. Lower it forward etc etc. Get her real cozy hopping on that single leg! Improve her hamstring flexibility as well as balancing ability. Crucial going forward! Have her play with her punching while bouncing on the single also. Finding the target of the temple of the person moving her leg around! Think coziness! Good luck Clarissa! Excited to see you progress!”
Shields was super surprised about the message.
“To get the advice from Conor McGregor was shocking!” Shields said.
But that doesn’t mean she understood what it meant.
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How Shields Learned What McGregor Meant
Shields, 25, from Flint, Michigan, is one of the most decorated champions in boxing history, but she just started learning MMA.
So she didn’t even fully understand what McGregor was talking about in his message when she first read it.
“You know? [Jon Jones] explained it to me, and I got a better sense, but one of the MMA fans actually inboxed me and said ‘Hey, this is the video that Conor McGregor was talking about…”,” Shields said.
So Shields said she learned what McGregor’s advice meant from an unlikely pair: Jones and some random MMA fan on social media.
“Believe it or not, a lot of MMA fans may talk s***, but they’re also very informational. When he wrote all that stuff, of course, I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about,” Shields said.
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Training at Jackson Wink Academy
“They’ve been working the hell out of me!”
That’s what Shields said about her first two months of training at Jackson Wink. The fighter basically lives at the famed MMA gym for weeks at a time when she’s in town so that she can completely immerse herself in learning her new sport.
“I just love being a little bit frustrated,” Shields said.
Indeed, Shields has completely thrown herself into her MMA training, and she seems to love every difficult second of it.
— Kelsey McCarson (@kelsey_mccarson) January 14, 2021
Additionally, Shields loves the approach of her trainers at Jackson Wink. She doesn’t feel like she’s just learning separate arts. She’s learning how to use them all together.
“We’re mixing everything together. I’m not just learning jiu-jitsu. I’m learning how to use jiu-jitsu in a fight. To me, MMA is nothing but a fight using a whole bunch of different disciplines in one,” Shields said.
Shields Loves MMA
Shields said her favorite thing about MMA so far were all the different ways to win and lose a fight.
“There’s so much more you have to look for. It’s exciting,” Shields said.
Of course, Shields has never lost a fight as a professional, and she doesn’t plan on things being any different when she enters the cage for the first time later this year.
It’s why she chose to train at Jackson Wink, and it’s also why all Shields does when she’s in town is eat, sleep and train.
“I don’t want to be worried about being taken down, or submissions, or chokes. I want to be comfortable in all those areas,” Shields said.
Shields was added to the PFL’s star-studded roster in December.
Among other MMA stars, PFL’s impressive list of fighters now includes Shields, Kayla Harrison, Fabricio Werdum, Anthony Pettis, Rory MacDonald, and others.
Shields will compete in one-off fights during the PFL’s upcoming 2021 season in hopes of competing in the PFL’s lightweight tournament in 2022.
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