‘I Don’t Even Know Who that Person Is’- Claressa Shields Talks about the Difference in Competing in Boxing and MMA

Published 08/20/2021, 11:48 AM EDT
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 21: Claressa Maria Shields of the United States celebrates victory over Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands in the Women’s Middle (69-75kg) Final Bout on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro – Pavilion 6 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)


Claressa Shields recently picked up a TKO victory against Brittney Elkin in her first MMA fight under the PFL banner. Despite all the adversity in the first two rounds, the Olympian made a terrific comeback in the third round, after landing a crisp right hand that stunned her opponent, ultimately finishing the fight with some vicious ground pound. 

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Now the 26-year-old is getting ready for her second MMA fight against Abigail Montes on the 27th of October. A two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing, Claressa Shields has taken on the task of becoming the world’s first boxing and MMA champion.  

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Her dedication to the sport of MMA has become even more apparent since her debut performance. Videos of the Olympic boxer throwing kicks and working on her take-down defense are now a common affair. In a recent interview with ESPN, Claressa Shields gave her take on the difference in training for an MMA fight as opposed to a boxing match.

“When I look at myself in MMA, I always think to myself like ‘ Man, you’re way more dangerous than you ever thought you were’. I thought I was pretty badass in boxing, but in MMA its like ‘Yo you’re like a monster’. I mean, I watched a video of me ground and pound someone so many times. Its like I don’t even know who that person is.” 

Shields has been training at Jackson Wink MMA Academy, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A gym that has given us some of the best fighters in the UFC, such as Jon Jones, Holly Holm, and Carlos Condit.  

There is little doubt regarding Claressa Shields’ work ethic. And now that she is working with a great MMA team, fans will hope the boxing phenom will continue making headlines in the MMA world. 

Will Claressa Shields ever come to the UFC? 

Claressa Shields has only one fight on her MMA record as of now, however, her debut performance in the PFL is a promising sign. A fighter who is out to prove herself, Shields has expressed her interest in fighting the best in the world, even calling out UFC double champion Amanda Nunes. 

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And although an MMA fight with Nunes won’t be a great idea right now, the matchup will certainly be one worth remembering. If Shields can rack up a series of wins in her MMA career, there’s won’t be a lot of reasons for the UFC to not offer her a lucrative deal.  

Until then, Shields will have to keep her head down and keep working her way to the top of the food chain. 

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What do you think? Will Claressa Shields come to the UFC? Let us know in the comments.  

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David Andrew

139 articles

David Andrew is an MMA author at EssentiallySports with a background in English Literature from St. Stephens College. Prior to his current role, David, who combines his passion for writing and combat sports, contributed to the MMA divisions at Sportskeeda and The Sportsrush.

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