Claressa Shields makes her MMA debut with the Skilled Battle League on Thursday evening – step one to an intriguing extension of her legacy.
The 2-time Olympic gold medal winner, three-weight world champion and two-weight undisputed champion calls herself the ‘GWOAT’ – Biggest Lady of All Time – and has a powerful declare to be ladies’s boxing’s No 1.
However she is switching sports activities to combined martial arts to combat Brittney Elkin and tells Sky Sports activities about relocating to New Mexico, a hub of MMA, to coach alongside UFC nice Jon Jones and pioneer Holly Holm.
Describe the primary time you felt how painful MMA may very well be…
It occurred the primary time I sparred. I received taken down and thought: ‘Oh, that is what it looks like!’
I assumed: ‘It is not that dangerous’.
I’m avoiding being taken down, working my means again up from the cage, proudly owning the centre of the cage with my punching.
I’ve put the work in and now issues are coming to me simpler.
I can kick, I can knee. I received stick for my footwork in boxing for under coming forwards aggressively however I’ve at all times had footwork. I may get within the ring and bounce round like Muhammad Ali. You will note my angles in MMA.
The lady I am combating is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu so we do not need to play her sport, we need to play my sport.
How necessary is it having Holly Holm in your gymnasium?
She is well-rounded – she will kick, wrestle, grapple, she’s robust. I have a look at her as my mentor.
I heard Kayla Harrison name herself my mentor however that is not true. Holly is my mentor.
I talk about my sparring and have actual conversations with Holly. She is the one boxer to come back into MMA and have actual success.
She has the cheat code.
Does Jon Jones give beneficial recommendation?
For 4 hours we simply drill. The coaches sit again and watch him educate. They are saying: ‘We hate to interrupt this up nevertheless it’s been 4 hours!’
Jon stated: ‘Claressa, let’s go some extra!’
Jon exhibits me issues and can say: ‘It can take you half-hour to grasp this’.
Folks speak about his bodily attributes however he’s so technical. I can perceive and catch on to what he teaches.
Folks anticipate you to combat world champions…
I do not let it add stress. It is cool to be in comparison with these ladies however Amanda Nunes, Cris Cyborg and Kayla Harrison have been doing MMA for years.
The one factor I’ve over them is my boxing.
I am not fascinated with these ladies but.
I textual content Cyborg to ask for recommendation. I am cool with Kayla too however we combat [for Professional Fight League] so I am unable to name her! We’re buddies however we are going to combat in the future so we have now a disconnect.
After one yr in MMA, you may’t combat a world champion but however I am the exception.
Folks need to see me combat world champions. I study very quick and never everyone possesses the talent that I do.
Why do not extra boxers make this swap?
I educated 5 instances – wrestling, cage work, jiu-jitsu, I did pads with my coach, I did kicking. It takes some time to place this stuff collectively.
Your thoughts has to grasp. And you must put together the physique – after wrestling, your arms are drained so do not need to punch.
That is why boxers do not come into MMA.
Savannah Marshall’s verdict
The WBO middleweight champion is on a collision course Shields contained in the boxing ring…
Marshall stated: It is a good transfer for her. Ladies’s MMA, for my part, is on par with males’s MMA.
If she reaps the advantages she could also be tempted to remain in MMA.
It is a completely different degree of health. She appears skilled so she will not go away any stone unturned.
There aren’t any simple fights in MMA, there aren’t any journeywomen or padded information. You by no means see a champion in MMA with no losses.
She will likely be thrown into the deep finish.