Multi-division boxing champion Claressa Shields hopes that her transition to MMA will bring her the fame and fortune she is long overdue.
Shields credentials in boxing speak for themselves. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and the only boxer ever – man or woman – to hold all four major world titles in boxing—WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO—simultaneously, in two weight classes. Despite her incredible resume, Shields hasn’t received the kind of national attention or compensation you would expect for someone with her accomplishments.
‘T-Rex’ has been vocal about the treatment she has received throughout her career. She has called out promotions and their broadcast partners for what she perceives as sexism, as they continually fail to give female boxers the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
Over in the MMA realm, things have been quite different. Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Amanda Nunues and Gina Carano have all been among the biggest stars in the sport during their careers. Numerous other women have headlined pay-per-views and major ‘Fight Night’ cards.
That is why Shields hopes signing with the PFL – on a contract that will also let her continue boxing – will allow her to become the mega-star she has the potential to be. In fact, while speaking with MMA Fighting, Shields says her profile has already been raised before even stepping into the cage.
“In women’s boxing, women don’t get paid that much,” Claressa Shields explained. “I’ve won every title you can think of, every last organization. Three-time division world champ, two-time undisputed champ at 154 and 160 (pounds). I’ve held titles at 168 and it’s like I’m not a millionaire. I’m known worldwide but I’m not a household name yet.
“There’s nothing more I can do in women’s boxing to make me be a household name cause I’ve done everything. Nothing else I can do. People was talking about me and Laila Ali fighting or her coming out of retirement. I still wouldn’t be a household name after that win.”
At still just 26 years-old, Shields has a long future in combat sports ahead of her. She wants to take full advantage of that time to create better opportunities for herself. That’s largely what prompted her move to the PFL, where they haven’t been shy about promoting female fighters such as Kayla Harrison.
“It’s not (making me a household name) so that’s why I’m doing MMA,” Shields said about boxing. “Because for me, it’s the bigger picture.
“I want to be a household name. I want to be a millionaire. I want to get my just due and I was never able to get my just due in boxing so I’m going to use my athleticism to see what I can do in MMA.”
In the end, Shields wants to go down as the best to have ever done it. The title of ‘Greatest Woman of All Time’ – or GWOAT – has largely been used when talking about Amanda Nunes. However, that’s the throne that Shields would like to one day sit upon. Her journey on that path starts June 10 against Brittney Elkin.
“I just feel like for me, when you’re a champion people look at your accomplishments and they say ‘what else can you do?’ and me being the greatest woman of all time, I’m the greatest one of all time in boxing hands down but I feel like if I add MMA to it, who could dispute that?” Shields said. “Nobody can dispute that. Any girl in boxing or any girl in MMA, she won’t be able to say ‘no, she’s not the GWOAT.’
“I am the GWOAT in boxing and I’ll be the GWOAT in MMA if I get the chance to fight in the PFL and I become a PFL MMA champion at the same time I’m boxing. Like who will be able to dispute that I’m the greatest woman of all time? I’ve beat all the girls in boxing and now I’ve beat girls in MMA. I feel like that’s just added to me being the GWOAT.”
Do you think Claressa Shields will end her career as the GWOAT? Let us know!