Claressa Shields has made her name in the world of boxing by collecting Olympic Gold Medals, world titles and names for her resume. Having become the first boxer to ever hold undisputed titles in two weight classes simultaneously, Shields decided to look for a new challenge. Ultimately, she found her challenge in mixed martial arts through the Professional Fighters League.
On June 10, Shields made her MMA debut against 12-year veteran Brittney Elkin in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During the first two rounds, Shields shined with her fast hands and powerful striking ability. However, she struggled whenever Elkin was able to get her on the ground. Entering the third round, it appeared that Elkin was up two rounds to none. Therefore, Shields needed a knockout to win and that's exactly what she got. With Shields on top and Elkin protecting her head, the former boxing champion wailed on her opponent until the referee stopped the fight.
At the end of the fight, Shields landed 90 of her 96 strikes and showed incredible poise in difficult situations. Her willingness to step into the octagon coupled with her ability to stay calm when in unfamiliar territory earned her the respect of active MMA fighters and star boxers.
Claressa Shields was equally excited after the fight. During a post-fight interview, she noted that she lost the first two rounds, but felt she was never in any pain.
"I may have lost these two rounds, but I'm not losing this fight," Shields said.
"She had me on the ground, but she couldn't hurt me. Her punches didn't hurt me. She tried to get me in me an armbar and that didn't hurt me."
Shields moves to 1-0 in her professional MMA career. At this time, it's unclear if she will fight again this year. She has floated the idea of fighting in a boxing match later this year, but it appears that she will compete in the full 2022 PFL Season. The grand prize for winning a championship in the PFL is $1 million. However, her biggest goal is to become a champion in the UFC and boxing simultaneously.