Two-time Olympic gold medallist Claressa Shields has found an opponent and venue as she makes the swap from the ring to the cage for her mixed martial arts debut with the Professional Fighters League.
The self-proclaimed GWOAT (Greatest Women Of All-Time) will fight fellow American Brittney Elkin on June 10 with the bout being held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Shields, the first boxer, male or female, to become undisputed in two weight classes in the four-belt era, has long let it be known that she’s been keen to swap crossover into the world of MMA in a bid to cement her legacy as a fighter.
The 26-year-old has been training in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy, the same gym former UFC champions Jon Jones and Holly Holm, a former boxer who successfully made the transition to the Octagon, hone their craft.
“I am very excited to cement my legacy as the ‘Greatest Woman of All Time,’” Shields said.
“I cannot wait to step into the PFL cage for the first time on June 10 and show the world that I never back down from a challenge. I have shown I am the best boxer in the world, and eventually I intend to do the same thing as a mixed martial artist.”
Elkin, 32, is 3-6 in a career that has included bouts in Bellator and the PFL and while she respects Shields’ career as a boxer, she’s confident that she can make beat the Flint, Michigan in the world of MMA.
“I know she is a great boxer, but this is MMA," Elkin said. "I plan to show everyone that I am a well-rounded fighter who can compete wherever the fight takes me.”
The PFL 2021 season gets underway on April 23 but Shields' debut fight is not part of the promotion's season-long competition format, which she is expected to enter in 2022.