Boxing Champ Shields Trades the Ring for the Octagon


When you think of dominance in sports, you tend to think of sustained periods of greatness: Jordan’s six championships over six (and a half) seasons, or Djokovic’s 17 major championships in just 11 years. And while that kind of run in one sport is rare, what we see even less often is success in two different sports.

That’s what Claressa Shields is gunning for, though. The 26-year-old boxer is a two-time Olympic medallist and the undisputed champion in two separate weight classes. And she’s decided that she needs a little more of a challenge.

“I’ve accomplished everything in boxing,” she told Good Morning America in April. And with that in mind she decided to try her hand at MMA. She recently signed with the Professional Fighters League and will make her PFL debut in just a couple of weeks, on June 10.

Shields making the transition to MMA might sound less daunting than, say, MJ trying to break into baseball. But it’s hard not to admire her commitment to growth, and to challenging her own limits. It’s also hard to bet against her.

“Growing up, I didn’t have a whole bunch of food. I didn’t have clothes and I didn’t have shoes,” she told GMA. “I didn’t have a bed until I was 17 years old. It just kind of taught me that anything I want I have to do for myself.”

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