Generally speaking, whenever there is a crossover fight involving a boxer and an MMA fighter it is the latter who is required to switch codes and don the 8oz or 10oz gloves that the exclusively stand-up combat sport demands.

However, breaking with such an unfair tradition was Claressa Shields, who having already declared herself the undisputed GWOAT of boxing, decided to take a proper plunge into the world of MMA.

What’s more, her fight against the durable and rugged Brittney Elkin was an all-action affair, as PFL fans were treated to a stunning back-and-forth battle between two female warriors. With Shields now adamant that she will continue to look for big MMA paydays until someone at the higher weights can challenge her in the boxing ring, we take a look at other male and female boxers who could make the crossover from the squared circle to the octagon.

Top women boxers are being lured to MMA because of the lack of financial incentives on offer in boxing. This is a shame but can lead to fascinating crossover battles

The Forgotten Trailblazers

Many fans are unaware that it is nothing new for boxers to turn over to MMA with plenty having provided inspiration for Shields to attempt the feat.

Some of these include huge names from the boxing world such as “Lights Out” James Toney, who succumbed to a 1st round submission against Randy Couture at UFC 118.

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A more successful venture into MMA by a boxer was completed by Holly Holm, who used the striking skills she honed in boxing and kickboxing to become a legit UFC star, building a record of 11 wins and just 3 defeats.

Other top boxers who were drawn to test themselves in the octagon include Ricardo Mayorga – who lost all 3 of his MMA bouts – as well as Mia St. John and Ray Mercer.

Dillian Whyte – Could Get Disillusioned with Boxing

As Holly Holm proved during her MMA career, a boxer who also happens to have a strong grounding in kickboxing is likely to be backed by betting punters to compete well in MMA, rather than a boxer unused to throwing kicks.

Despite his massive stature Whyte was a more than competent MMA fighter and kickboxer before he became a box office attraction who garnered the attention of boxing odds makers and tipsters. As such, he is a prime candidate to make the switch back to MMA, especially seeing as it seems unlikely that fans will be able to use their free bets and bonuses to bet on him fighting Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury anytime soon.

Francis Ngannou has already made plenty of noise about one day facing off against Tyson Fury. While a fight against Whyte would not be as lucrative for the Cameroonian, a bout against Whyte would probably be a more evenly matched affair – given Whyte’s MMA pedigree – with the odds makers likely to only make the UFC heavyweight champion a marginal favorite.

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Learning to grapple and wrestle effectively is one of the hardest things for boxers to get the hang of when they switch over to MMA

Tyler Goodjohn – From Boxing to Bareknuckle and Back

He may not be a household name in the States, but Tyler Goodjohn is something of a legend in the murky world of bareknuckle boxing and also had a pretty good record in the professional boxing ranks as well.

Having become used to fighting with minimal hand protection, Goodjohn would be well-suited to a move to MMA. Only hardcore combat sports fans would appreciate such a switch, but he would never feature in a dull scrap.

Tyson Fury – Never Shy of Accepting a Challenge

He fought Vladimir Klitschko in his back yard. He then accepted Deontay Wilder’s challenge despite still recovering from his life sliding out of control just months earlier, and now Tyson Fury stands as the man considered to be the number one heavyweight on the planet.

The big man has already courted plenty of publicity and gossip after he spent time training with Nick Diaz and even though he stated he would never set foot in the octagon, he is not a man who likes to turn down the offer of a fight, especially if there is big money involved.

Once again, Ngannou would probably be the only man with a big enough profile to tempt Fury to the UFC, but the build-up to such an event would be something to behold.

Gennady Golovkin – Real Drama Show

He may not have the sort of grounding in multiple martial arts styles that some other boxers boast, but Gennady Golovkin makes up for that with the sort of power that makes onlookers at ringside shiver.

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Much like Shields and Whyte, this Kazak could ditch boxing for MMA after becoming frustrated with being denied a trilogy with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. With there being plenty of potential opponents around middleweight in the UFC, the man known as GGG would be a welcome addition to the MMA ranks because he is not someone who would ever duck away from a fight. Grappling could be his downfall, but it would take a strong man to get Golovkin to the canvas in the first place. His striking power with tiny MMA gloves on would be genuinely terrifying.

Manny Pacquiao – A Fighter Through and Through

Conor McGregor keeps dreaming of one day luring Floyd Mayweather into the octagon, but that is a pipe dream that will never happen, because Mayweather would never put himself in a position where he was a prohibitive underdog.

Not so with Manny Pacquiao, who continues to grind out elite level victories despite being 42 years of age. If he loses against Errol Spence in a boxing bout scheduled to take place on the 21st of August, then the Pac-Man might have no option but to turn to MMA if he wants to have more bumper paydays. His quick feet and fast hands would make him a nightmare for any MMA fighter and so perhaps Dana White should put a call in to the Filipino rather than pursuing the Mayweather dead end.

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