Claressa Shields makes her MMA debut with the Skilled Struggle League on Thursday evening – 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 Lady of All Time – and has a powerful declare to be girls’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 received taken down and thought: ‘Oh, that is what it seems like!’
I believed: ‘It is not that unhealthy’.
I’m avoiding being taken down, working my manner 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 received stick for my footwork in boxing for less than coming forwards aggressively however I’ve at all times had footwork. I might get within the ring and bounce round like Muhammad Ali. You will note my angles in MMA.
The lady I am preventing is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu so we do not need to play her sport, we need to play my sport.
How vital is it having Holly Holm in your gymnasium?
She is well-rounded – she will kick, wrestle, grapple, she’s robust. I take 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 focus on my sparring and have actual conversations with Holly. She is the one boxer to return 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 however it’s been 4 hours!’
Jon stated: ‘Claressa, let’s go some extra!’
Jon exhibits me issues and can say: ‘It would take you 30 minutes to know this’.
Individuals discuss his bodily attributes however he’s so technical. I can perceive and catch on to what he teaches.
Individuals count on 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 interested by 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 can not name her! We’re pals however we are going to struggle sooner or later so we’ve a disconnect.
After one 12 months in MMA, you’ll be able to’t struggle a world champion but however I am the exception.
Individuals need to see me struggle world champions. I study very quick and never everyone possesses the talent that I do.
Why do not extra boxers make this change?
I skilled 5 occasions – wrestling, cage work, jiu-jitsu, I did pads with my coach, I did kicking. It takes some time to place these items collectively.
Your thoughts has to know. And you need to put together the physique – after wrestling, your arms are drained so do not need 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 stated: 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 degree of health. She appears skilled so she will not depart any stone unturned.
There are not any simple fights in MMA, there are not any journeywomen or padded data. You by no means see a champion in MMA with no losses.
She might be thrown into the deep finish.