There might not be a better fighter in boxing today than women’s welterweight and middleweight champion Claressa “T-Rex” Shields. She was a two-time Olympic gold medalist as an amateur and has already earned world titles in three different weight classes as a professional. Moreover, the 25-year-old is considered by many observers to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
But now Shields is stunningly making a move over to MMA, and she’s doing it at the height of her professional powers as a boxer.
According to MMA Junkie, Shields signed a deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) that will allow arguably boxing’s best women’s champion the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Holly Holm.
News via @MMAJunkieJohn
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) December 1, 2020
Like Shields, Holm was once boxing’s best women’s champion, but Holm left the sport and eventually became UFC women’s bantamweight champion.
Holm remains the only fighter in combat sports history to win a legit world championship in both boxing and the UFC.
Now, Shields will take her swing at doing the same thing.
ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!
Shields Won’t Compete in PFL Tournament Next Year
According to MMA Junkie, Shields isn’t planning on competing in the PFL’s 155-pound lightweight tournament.
Instead, Shields will compete in one-off fights in the same way that Kayla Harrison did when she first signed with the company back in 2018.
That makes sense because Shields probably isn’t ready to compete against the most elite competition in the PFL just yet.
Shields will need to take her time as she seeks to become a two-sport champion.
Of course, Harrison went on to become PFL champion the following year, and many like her to repeat the feat in 2021, too.
Moreover, Harrison has arguably become the biggest and best prospect in all of MMA across all promotions.
Shields is likely to use Harrison’s amazing success story as a model for her own plans for world domination.
It’s a move that has stunned the boxing world, but it really does appear that Shields intends on becoming an MMA superstar.
Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Will Shields Keep Boxing?
According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, Shields will continue to box as well.
Coppinger noted via social media that Shields’ next boxing match should still happen sometime in January or February.
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
Still, one wonders how long Shields can or will do both sports. Holm left boxing and never really looked back. The way she explained it to Heavy earlier this year was that she just fell in love with MMA and could never see herself not doing what she loves.
Might Shields be on her way to doing the same thing, too?
If that happens, it’s a huge blow for boxing but a massive win for MMA. Shields already touts herself as the “GWOAT” or greatest women’s boxer of all-time.
If she eventually becomes an MMA champ, she might become something even more.
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel