Claressa Shields, a former Olympic gold medalist in boxing, is making the move to mixed martial arts and surprisingly has signed with PFL.
Shields has been teasing a move to MMA for the last few years. In fact, she was a guest of UFC president Dana White at UFC 245 last December in Las Vegas. Many thought that after Amanda Nunes defended the UFC women’s bantamweight title against Germaine de Randamie that night that Shields could potentially be a future opponent. But that fight won’t be happening anytime soon with Shields now in PFL.
MMAjunkie.com first reported that Shields had signed with PFL. The report says that Shields will not be entering a PFL tournament in her debut with the promotion. Instead, Shields will be given opponents in one-off fights at lightweight to begin her career. The promotion used a similar tactic while Kayla Harrison was still green to MMA, and two years later and now Harrison is on the verge of becoming a contender.
Shields issued a short message on her social media shortly after the news broke.
Man today been a long day
— ClaressaT-rexShields (@Claressashields) November 30, 2020
“Man today been a long day.”
For PFL, getting Shields to sign on the dotted line is a major coup for the organization as it looks to put a dreadful 2020 in the rear-view mirror and look ahead to 2021. PFL made several key signings before the coronavirus pandemic including Rory MacDonald that indicated the promotion was ready to become a major player. But COVID-19 wreaked havoc on PFL and the promotion held zero events this year.
Despite that, PFL has been able to lure several key free agents to its fold for its next season, including Shields and former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. It will be interesting to hear why Shields decided to ultimately sign with PFL over the UFC, give how much interest White had in bringing her aboard just last year. It’s also worth noting that Shields plans on training with Jon Jones ahead of her MMA debut.
How do you think Claressa Shields will fare in PFL?