Penning a multi-fight deal with the PFL (Professional Fighters League) recently ahead of her long speculated foray into the world of mixed martial arts, decorated professional boxer, Claressa ‘T-Rex’ Shields has revealed she had held some negotiations with the UFC about possibly joining the roster last year.
Shields, a native of Flint, Michigan is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing and a multiple-time boxing world champion, establishing an undefeated 10-0 professional résumé.
The first of multiple high-profile signings for the Ray Sefo founded banner toward the end of this year, Shields penned a multi-fight deal with the outfit ahead of the acquisition of former UFC heavyweight champion and decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player, Fabricio ‘Vai Cavalo’ Werdum, and former UFC and WEC lightweight best, Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis.
Set to continue her boxing career as well as prepare and compete in mixed martial arts, Shields, who had been continuously linked to both a boxing and mixed martial arts outing against two-weight UFC world champion, Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes, revealed the UFC had come knocking, briefly last year offering her an almost ‘one-and-done’ type deal against a high-level competitor.
“It was just the conversation,” Shields said during a recent interview with MMA Junkie. “It was like, ‘Hey, come and train for a few months and then fight against the best girl that we have at your weight.’ “I think that’s unfair to me and it’s not giving me enough time to train. If you’re talking about letting me train for two years and then I’ll fight against the best girl you have. All right, cool. But the conversation with Dana (White) was almost like a one-fight deal a little bit.“
Shields continued where she noted her willingness to sign with the PFL due to their longterm plan for her, which allowed her to continue her boxing career as soon as February coming, as part of a three-year deal in which she’ll compete in the promotion’s tournament in 2022.
“With the PFL, it was ‘Let’s train, let’s start you at this level and work your way up’ and then I’ll have a chance to fight in the PFL tournament in 2022,” Shields explained. “And also I’ll still be able to box, so my boxing career isn’t just over because I’m doing MMA. I actually have a boxing match in February, it just hasn’t been announced yet. I still get to box and I’m not getting rushed. And it’s a lucrative deal and a lucrative conversation where it was a three-year deal. It’s not like, ‘Hey come over here fight two times and go back to boxing,’ I’m a conqueror and I’m a warrior so I want to put myself in a position to always win.” (MMA Junkie via MMAMania)
Whilst an opponent for Shields’ sure to be highly-anticipated mixed martial arts debut has yet to be set, the renowned puncher has hinted at her willingness to eventually stand opposite friend and fellow two-time Olympic gold medalist, Judoka standout, Kayla Harrison in the future.
Both under the same banner, Harrison recently headlined an Invicta FC card in November, making light work of Courtney King on her way to a second-round knockout win.
Harrison was scheduled to headline Titan FC 66 earlier this month in a rematch against Jozette Cotton until the main event clash was cancelled after the latter required hospitalization due to the effects of a severely botched weight cut.