Claressa Shields Training for MMA Crossover?
Well, it seems that unified world middleweight champion Claressa “T-rex” Shields (9-0, 2 KO’s) is looking for more athletic challenges. Apparently, leaving an open calling card for all the top female fighters from 154 to 168 pounds is not enough of a task. According to TMZ, and endorsed by her manager Mark Taffet, Shields is not only thinking about a foray into the octagon, she has begun training.
FROM TEN COUNTS TO TAP OUTS
In order to sharpen her MMA skills, T-rex enlisted the aid of proven wrestler Adaline Gray. Unsurprisingly, the decorated boxer and two-time gold medalist has been doing a phenomenal job in training. At her current rate of development, it’s being estimated that Shields will be ready to make a debut in the cage in roughly six months! That means that by early-to-mid-2020, she could be looking to take a bite out of some MMA competition.
“Yeah! It sounds great! MMA is interesting because I just love fighting, I really do. I love to punch people!”
Claressa Shields – Undisputed Middleweight Champion
Along with Gray, the impressive rising MMA star Kayla Harrison from Middleton, Ohio has extended an offer to assist Shields in her journey into the new sport. Whereas T-rex is a two-time Olympic gold winning boxer, Harrison is a two-time gold medalist in Judo. Having seen Shields in action, Kayla Harrison believes that she has the requisite tools to excel within the cage.
Harrison is willing to training Shields in take downs and her overall ground game. Albeit, in exchange for Shields instructing her in regards to her stand up game.
“I see some true potential there…if she wants to continue to work on her [double leg takedown], she’s got my number. I’ll show her some judo throws. We can make it happen! […] As long as you help me straighten out my striking! So far in my MMA career, I’ve thrown about zero punches on my feet.”
Kayla Harrison – 2x Judoka Olympic Gold Medalist & PFL Welterweight Contender
DOES MMA PAY WOMEN FIGHTERS BETTER?
If Claressa Shields does make her way to the cage, she will be joining the ranks of a few other female boxers, some high profile, making their way to MMA. In 2015, when Rhonda Rousey was the talk of the town, former boxer turned MMA fighter Holly Holm gained a good deal of notoriety by knocking her smooth out in a two-round devastation.
More recently, prominent female boxers Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (37-1-1, 27 KO’s) and Heather “The Heat” Hardy (22-1- 4 KO’s) have begun bouncing back and forth between professional boxing and cage matches. Hardy and Serrano put on a fantastic action fight in September of this year, which Serrano won by clear unanimous decision. Like Shields, both Serrano and Hardy have relished in the challenge and thrills that come with cage fighting.
However, perhaps unlike Shields, Serrano and Hardy have matriculated in the MMA ranks because they say that’s where they can receive the best pay. While no one at 3kingsboxing is her accountant, Shields is currently the face of women’s boxing and it’s rather unlikely that she is hurting financially or suffering any missed meal cramps. This is not to deny or belittle any discrepancies in the rate of pay for male versus female boxers.
Although, if combat on the MMA side of the fence does pay substantially more money, maybe Shields will jump ship. Sure, Shields derives a great sense of accomplishment from inspiring the next generation of female boxers. However, she could do the same thing from the inside of an octagon. Besides, it’s no secret that she has a unique class of media trolls who remain vigilant in undermining her many historic feats.
It’s wouldn’t require a huge stretch of the imagination to envision a scenario were Shields wandered off to greener pastures. In fact, the Flint, Michigan native has already providing some inkling that this is exactly what she might do! Down the line, she might even already have a mega-fight waiting on her.
“I’m going to do MMA because the boxing world don’t deserve me.”
Claressa Shields – Undisputed Middleweight Champion
POTENTIAL MMA SUPER FIGHT?
In July, after dismantling and knocking out the aforementioned Holly Holm, MMA fighter Amanda Nunes (18-4) was given ample praise by Claressa Shields. In the direct aftermath of that bout, many speculated who would win if Shields and Nunes locked horns.
At the time, T-rex was adamant that if they faced one another in the ring, she would destroy Nunes. Admittedly however, Shields revealed that if they fought in the cage, then Nunes would enjoy a severe advantage. While it’s unrealistic to think that Shields would face such a seasoned MMA competitor such as Nunes in one of her premiere fights, it would be interesting to see if this could be arranged a bit down the line.
Yet, let’s not put the cart before the horse. Before we can start dreaming up potential dream fights, first Shields must complete her training and emerge victorious in a debut bout. While all of this is still speculation, it will be fun to see what comes out of this interesting new development in Claressa Shields’ layered story.
By: Bakari Simpson