Claressa Shields Makes Her MMA Debut on June 10 against Brittney Elkin
World undisputed women’s junior middleweight champion Claressa Shields (11-0, 2 KOs) is arguably the best female boxer in the sport. She holds the distinction of becoming an undisputed world champion at not just one, but two weight classes (154 and 160).
But the self-proclaimed “GWOAT” has never hidden the fact that she is in search of more challenges. She has openly expressed a strong desire to compete in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). After long talking about wanting to enter the octagon ring, it will now become a reality.
On April 14, The Professional Fighters League (PFL) announced that the 26-year-old from Flint, Michigan, will make her MMA debut on June 10 against Brittney Elkin (3-6-0). The match in Atlantic City, New Jersey will air live on ESPN and ESPN+. In a released statement, Shields expressed excitement about this new challenge in her career.
“I am very excited to cement my legacy as the Greatest Woman of All Time. 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.”
Shields made known her long-term goals in MMA.
“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.”
To prepare for Elkin, Shields has been training at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico with MMA greats such as Jon Jones and Holly Holm. This is Elkin’s second fight in the PFL. She looks at the upcoming bout against Shields as a fight that could not be passed up.
“I’m very grateful to be back in the PFL and to have this opportunity to square off with Claressa Shields. I know she is a great boxer but this is MMA and I plan to show everyone that I am a well-rounded fighter who can compete wherever the fight takes me.”
WHAT IS THE PFL?
Economic disparities between women’s boxing and MMA are vastly different. Money plays a significant role in her decision.
PFL is one of the more popular MMA companies in the sport, along with UFC and Bellator. They understand earning potential and are willing to pay big bucks to bring Claressa Shield over. In cold truth, she could make more money fighting in the octagon than in a boxing ring.
LEAVING BOXING, GOODBYE?
Shields claims this venture is not a one-off. Her goal is to become a world champion in MMA. However, she also fully intends to continue boxing. For fans of the Sweet Science, they hope that is the case. Despite her argument that she has conquered women’s boxing, there is still work to do.
Calls are starting to grow louder and louder from boxing fans for Shields to face the current WBO 160-pound women’s world champ, Savannah Marshall. The two ladies have a history that goes back to their days as amateurs. As professionals, Marshall has progressed to the point where she is Shields’ number one threat.
Shields says a fight against Marshall could happen if the money is right. But for it to happen, promoter Eddie Hearn must show her the money. Quietly, there’s a growing fear from boxing fans. The fight against Elkin could be the seeds of a permanent exit to MMA. Women’s boxing could not afford to lose their most high-profile fighter.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.