After winning world championships in three weight divisions in just 10 fights as a professional boxer, Claressa Shields has signed on to take her talents to the MMA cage as the two-time Olympic gold medalist signed a contract to compete in the Professional Fighters League, according to a report by MMA Junkie.
Shields won gold medals in 2012 and 2016 before turning professional in November 2016. In just her fourth professional bout, Shields won the WBC and IBF super middleweight titles. She then added the WBA and IBF middleweight titles in her sixth fight. Four fights later, she dropped to light middleweight and won the WBC and WBO world championships.
Her name had been previously tied to both two-division UFC champion Amanda Nunes and former UFC and current Bellator champion Cris Cyborg for dream fights, either in the cage or the boxing ring.
While those promotions didn’t land Shields, there are some appealing fights in PFL. The promotion employs a “season” structure, featuring tournaments across multiple weight classes. In 2019, Kayla Harrison, who won Olympic gold medals in judo at the same two Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016, won the women’s lightweight title.
Similar to Harrison’s path, though, Shields will begin her PFL career by taking one-off fights as opposed to competing in the 2021 season, according to the report. Harrison took the same route in 2018 before claiming the PFL gold in 2019.
Shields teased the move in February, posting a social media video of her throwing kicks in training and stating she was “serious about transitioning.”