PFL made headlines yesterday when it was announced that the promotion had reached a deal with Claressa Shields. MMA Junkie first reported the news. Shields is an two-time Olympic Gold medalist in boxing and is widely considered the pound for pound best in the sport.
The 25 year old phenom is the fastest to get to 10-0 as a professional boxer and she hold multiple belts in multiple weight classes. In boxing, she’s clearly in a league of her own, but she’s ready to challenge herself in the world of MMA.
The transition for Harris was easier than the transition for Shields will be. We’ve seen over and over that the transition from grappling is so much easier than the transition for pure strikers. And that’s what Shields is, a pure striker. Specifically, a pure boxer.
She has no kickboxing or Muay Thai experience and she has no grappling experience. Nevertheless, the 25 year old is willing to challenge herself which is why she signed the deal with PFL. Last year, she voiced her interest in potentially making the jump.
— PFL MMA (@ProFightLeague) December 1, 2020
PFL’s next star?
It’s such an interesting move for Shields. It’s a no-brainer if you’re PFL, but Shields is the absolute best in her sport currently. This is not the same thing as Conor McGregor crossing over to boxing for a match with Floyd Mayweather.
It’s so much tougher making the MMA jump. Just ask James Toney how his matchup against Randy Couture went. However, I will say that Shields does have a few things going for her. One, she’s a world class athlete. Two, she’s still very young.
PFL is going to give her the slow build in MMA. My guess is that they will give her very favorable matchups to start things out. Do not expect her to get thrown in with a world class grappler like Kayla Harrison.
Although a matchup between the two might be the long-term play for PFL. At the end of the day, this is a big signing for PFL. Shields can become a superstar and I’m very curious to watch this play out. At the moment, she’s planning on continuing her boxing career while having one-off lightweight MMA matches.