Claressa Shields made her highly-anticipated MMA debut on Thursday night in the main event of PFL 4 against Brittney Elkin.
Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, and a multi-division boxing champ says she wanted to switch to MMA due to the lack of pay in women’s boxing. In her debut, she struggled early on as Elkin took her down and she controlled the fight on the ground. However, Shields stayed calm and rallied back to earn a third-round TKO win.
After the fight, Shields spoke to the media where she said she knew her debut wasn’t going to be easy.
“I had told myself, this is not going to be easy. That’s why I spent seven months in Albuquerque, I haven’t been home in a while. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Shields said at the post-fight press conference. “I was getting in there with an experienced vet. I have been doing MMA for seven months and she’s been doing it for 12 years, so I knew I was at a disadvantage. But I also knew I’m just a different kind of animal. Even though I felt I was losing, I still felt I had time. So I just gave it my all, just don’t quit and you’ll come out happy and victorious.”
Claressa Shields did train at JacksonWink for the camp and although she got good training, she knew the fight would be hard. However, she is pleased with her performance as she proved she could fight and win in MMA.
“I knew it would be completely different and that’s what we had trained for. The only thing I knew coming into the fight was that I was in dog shape,” Shields said. “I knew I had trained the hardest that I could train and I had as much information in my mind as I could take. So my main thing was just come in the cage and have my faith over fear and put my best foot forward. I feel like every round I did that.”
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime