Claressa Shields makes her MMA debut with the Skilled Combat League on Thursday night time – 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 Girl of All Time – and has a robust declare to be ladies’s boxing’s No 1.
However she is switching sports activities to blended martial arts to struggle 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 might be…
It occurred the primary time I sparred. I acquired taken down and thought: ‘Oh, that is what it appears like!’
I assumed: ‘It is not that unhealthy’.
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 acquired stick for my footwork in boxing for less than 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 woman I am preventing is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu so we do not wish to play her recreation, we wish to play my recreation.
How essential is it having Holly Holm in your health club?
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 mentioned: ‘Claressa, let’s go some extra!’
Jon reveals me issues and can say: ‘It would take you half-hour to know this’.
Individuals speak about his bodily attributes however he’s so technical. I can perceive and catch on to what he teaches.
Individuals anticipate you to struggle 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 occupied with these ladies but.
I textual content Cyborg to ask for recommendation. I am cool with Kayla too however we struggle [for Professional Fight League] so I am unable to name her! We’re mates however we’ll struggle in the future so now we have a disconnect.
After one 12 months in MMA, you may’t struggle a world champion but however I am the exception.
Individuals wish to see me struggle world champions. I study very quick and never all people possesses the ability that I do.
Why do not extra boxers make this swap?
I skilled 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 know. And you need to put together the physique – after wrestling, your arms are drained so do not wish 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 mentioned: 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 totally different stage of health. She appears skilled so she will not depart 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 probably be thrown into the deep finish.