Despite becoming a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a multi-time, multi-division world champion, Claressa Shields fully understood that she was starting at the bottom again when she decided to sign with the PFL.
“I’m a boxer,” Shields explained when speaking to MMA Fighting ahead of her fight at PFL 4. “I’ve been boxing since I was 11 years old, I’m 26 so 15 years. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone but I have such a great team and great coaches for them to help me be comfortable with being uncomfortable. When I first came to camp, I was having huge anxiety just about could I do the MMA training? Could I stay calm if I got taken down? Could I even stay calm against the cage? Could I learn how to get up after being down or just keeping my head?
“I learned I can do all that and more. I’m happy that we just jumped into all the things that I wasn’t good at or that I didn’t know. They just started teaching me and I’m a really great learner. That’s something I knew would play in my favor.”
On Thursday night, she made her debut against Brittney Elkin and shocked the world by knocking her out in the third round.