Fresh off of claiming undisputed status in a second division, Claressa Shields now turns her attention to mixed martial arts, where she’ll make her debut on a June 10th Professional Fighters League show.
.@Claressashields is the No. 1 women’s boxer in the world and about to make her MMA debut, but the 2-time Olympic gold medalist says sexism is still a major issue within sport: "It's mind-boggling to me ... I want us to have equal pay, equal opportunity.” @michaelstrahan pic.twitter.com/cZOWoA2Ogu— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 13, 2021
Like the promotion’s other upcoming events, the prelims will air on ESPN+ ahead of the ESPN2 main card.
Shields (11-0, 2 KO) should have no shortage of potential opponents. PFL, formerly known as the World Series of Fighting, essentially built a 155-pound division for the sake of Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison. It is, however, rather lacking in the sort of marquee names Shields would want to face to assert her “GWOAT” status; the women’s MMA talent pool dries up above 135 pounds and is borderline nonexistent above 145, leaving Harrison as the only target of note.
And with all due respect to Shields, it would take years of dedicated training for an MMA match with Harrison to be anything but a slaughter.
The PFL regular season kicks off on April 23rd with the lightweights (155 lbs.) and featherweights (145 lbs.), including breakout boxing star Clay Collard’s battle with former WEC and UFC champion Anthony Pettis.
UPDATE: Salita Promotions has officially announced that Shields will face 3-6 Brittney Elkin. Elkin, who’s fought under the PFL and Bellator banners before, returns to the cage for the first time since suffering an injury stoppage in January 2019.
“I am very excited to cement my legacy as the Greatest Woman of All Time,” said Shields. “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. 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.”
“I’m very grateful to be back in the PFL and to have this opportunity to square off with Claressa Shields,” Elkin said. “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.”