Claressa Shields, No.1 Pound-for-Pound Boxer in the World, Starting a Career in MMA

Claressa Shields at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Photo by Ibl/REX/Shutterstock (5837061g)

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and former undisputed female middleweight champion Claressa Shields is taking her talents to mixed martial arts. Shields, currently ranked No.1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world, confirmed earlier this week that she signed a contract with MMA league PFL.

Shields will make her MMA debut in 2021 and is expected to have at least two fights next year.

“I wanted to test myself,” said Shields in a chat with ESPN. “I want to see if I can be a world champion in boxing and a world champion in MMA. That’s something I want to test myself on. I’m not saying boxing is easy, but I’ve been on top of the world for almost 14 years now.”

Shields also added that venturing to MMA won’t affect her boxing as she intends to remain active in both sports.

As an amateur, Claressa Shields represented the United States at the Olympic Games in London and Rio de Janeiro and finished as a middleweight gold medalist on both occasions. She also has two gold medals from World Championships and one from Pan American Games.

Shields turned pro in 2016 and posted a 10-0 record with two knockouts since. The 25-year-old held belts in three classes—super middleweight, light middleweight, and middleweight—including unified WBA, WBC, and IBF middleweight and unified WBC and WBO female light middleweight championship.