Former UFC’s Women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holms has said that undefeated undisputed women’s boxing champion Claressa Shields who is getting ready to make her MMA debut has the skills to shine in the MMA world.
Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and boxing champion signed a contract with PFL last November in which she’ll make her MMA debut and compete in one-off fights at lightweight. Former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm, who transitioned from boxing to MMA herself, is the perfect person to give insight into Shields, who no doubt should be aiming for the same success. The pair have been training together at Jackson Wink MMA where Shields has been working on her kicks, clinch work, and wrestling.
Holly Holm talks about her Claressa Shields skillset
While Shields is currently dabbling in both MMA and boxing, Holly thinks she’s garnered enough experience in her combat sports career, which should help her once she’s in the cage. Through working with her, Holm can tell that Shields is taking this seriously and has the drive to succeed.
“I think some of the biggest things I truly feel going from one sport to another is being humble, being disciplined, and having your self-drive and ambition,” Holm told MMA Junkie. “If somebody has all those things then they can do it. I think that she has the ambition, she has the dedication, she has the self-motivation, and if it’s something that she wants to do and puts her heart to – she’s a fast learner, she’ll be able to pick this stuff up, and she’s not new to being in the spotlight. She’s not new to pressure being on her. There’s a lot of things she’s already experienced.”
Holly Holm continued, “She’s been in front of big stands. She’s been in front of a lot of eyes just even as an amateur being in the Olympics and everything. When I was an amateur, I was fighting in front of 200, 300 people, so then my pro fight was already a lot and then my first title fight was like wow, it was kind of a different feeling. Then going into MMA still was more people watching at that time than what had been watching in my career, so she’s gonna have some familiarities of that. And anytime you experience it once, it’s always easier the next time around.”
Shields will not take part in PFL’s upcoming season format, which kicks off in April, but will instead be booked in featured matchups during the promotion’s 2021 run. Up first is a boxing match against fellow champion Marie-Eve Dicaire on March 5. In the meantime, Shields says that while she’s certainly focused on that matchup, she’s keeping an eye on the PFL roster, as well.
Holm (14-5) is coming off back-to-back unanimous decision wins, against Raquel Pennington in January 2020 and Irene Aldana in October. Her last loss came in a bantamweight title fight against dual-weight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 239 in July 2019. Holm’s past three losses have come with a championship on the line, going back to 2017. Holly Holm will be fighting Julianna Pena in a non-title bout in May. The event does not yet have an announced location or venue.
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