Claressa Shields Reveals that Jon Jones Has Been Helping Her Battle Anxiety Before PFL Debut

Published 05/27/2021, 1:11 AM EDT


Claressa Shields spoke to Oscar Willis out of ‘TheMacLife’ ahead of her highly anticipated debut under the PFL promotional banner. Fight fans don’t have to wait much longer as Shields will fight 3-6 fighter, Brittney Elkin. Given Ekins’ three-fight skid, the consensus is that Shields will have a coming-out party on June 10.

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Shields has been training under one of MMA’s most accomplished super gyms in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jackson-Wink, home to arguably the MMA GOAT in Jon Jones, has produced other notable champs as well. Carlos Condit and Holly Holm are some of the esteemed names who have walked through the doors of Jackson-Wink.

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Claressa Shields provides insight into Jon Jones’ impact

Towards the end of the interview, ‘T-Rex’ was asked to share her experience moving into Jackson Wink. Chiefly, Shields revealed that Jones played a pivotal part in convincing her to transition to MMA in the first place. Additionally, she also explained how ‘Bones’ helped break through the initial wave of anxiety she felt when transitioning to MMA.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 21: Gold medalist Claressa Maria Shields of the United States poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women’s Boxing Middle (69-75kg) 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)

“I had this conversation with Jonny Bones back in like 2017-16 where he was like ‘Ay B, you’d be the perfect boxer to come into MMA and Jonny Bones saying this so many years and I was looking at him like ‘what the fu*k  are you talking about, no, never’.”

“Never will you see me… and I had signed the agreement then they reached out the Jackson Wink…They asked me like how’ve you been feeling since you signed the contract with PFL and I was like I had huge anxiety. He’s [Jon Jones] is like anxiety about what?”

Pre-fight nerves: Will Shields be affected?

Claressa Shields continued on and explained certain mental barriers affecting her.

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“Anxiety about being choked, about being slammed, about being on the ground not being able to get back up and he [Jones] was like ‘All right, get on your back’ and that’s when we started the Jiu-Jitsu training and he was like this is how you do… The more I put myself in those scary positions, the more comfortable I am.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 06: Jon Jones of the United States looks on after his after their UFC Light Heavyweight Title bout with Thiago Santos of Brazil at T-Mobile Arena on July 06, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jones defeated Santos by decision. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Jones, who has spent the better part of a decade at the very top of the sport, knows what it takes to be successful. ‘Bones’ has been at the front line of championship-caliber fights and has imparted Shields with her mindset. The fruits of their efforts will be on display as Shields readies herself on June 10 at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City.

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Darryl Pinto

1601 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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