Claressa Shields Is Confident, Not Feeling Pressure Ahead of MMA Debut

Claressa Shields
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

PFL lightweight Claressa Shields hasn’t made the walk to the octagon just yet, but she’s already feeling like a seasoned veteran ahead of her highly-anticipated debut on Thursday night at PFL 4 against Brittney Elkin.

Shields and Elkin participated in a global media call to promote their showcased fight at PFL 4 and both women showed tremendous confidence ahead of their bout. Shields is an accomplished Olympic-level boxer entering her MMA debut.

When asked about what her nerves are like heading into the big moment on Thursday night, Shields dismissed the notion that she’s entering this fight with any additional pressure compared to her boxing career.

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“Everything has been great, and I wouldn’t be here if I thought I was at a disadvantage to lose,” Shields said. “I don’t have any nerves because I’ve prepared to be here. If this was happening four, five months ago, it would probably be different. But I’ve submerged myself in it now and train with some of the best over at Jackson-Wink. I’m completely comfortable and looking forward to it rather than being nervous.”

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While Shields isn’t feeling any extra nerves ahead of her fight against Elkin, there will most definitely be more eyes on this fight compared to her other recent boxing matches and competitions. The women’s lightweight division is definitely one of the more star-studded divisions in PFL, with defending champion Kayla Harrison, Shields, and other strong fighters such as Larissa Pacheco.

Shields has had the luxury of training with some of the best in the business down at Jackson-Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, NM. She has trained alongside fellow women’s MMA fighters Holly Holm and Michelle Waterson, as well as learning from former UFC light heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound best in the world Jon Jones.

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Shields’ MMA debut will continue a successful year from PFL in terms of its rise in popularity around the sport. The main event will feature former UFC star Anthony Pettis against lightweight contender Alexander Martinez.

What are your expectations for the MMA debut of Claressa Shields at PFL 4?

Curtis Calhoun is a Combat Sports Contributor based in Seattle, Washington. After a longtime dream of becoming a sports journalist, he was able to accomplish his goals upon graduating from Washington State University in 2016.