Philadelphia

Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields set to make MMA debut

Philadelphia
Shields
Claressa Shields will make her MMA debut after a decorated career in boxing.
USA Today

Two-time Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields (11-0, 2 KOs) is set to make her MMA debut for the Professional Fighters League Thursday night against Brittney Elkin (3-6) in Atlantic City, N.J.

Shields, who took home gold for the U.S. at the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games, is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

She was the first American boxer to win consecutive Olympic medals and, in March, defeated Marie-Eve Dicaire to become the first two-division undisputed champ. Now the Flint, Michigan, native will attempt to conquer the growing world of mixed martial arts.

Shields took her transition to the sport seriously. She trained for the upcoming bout with former UFC champions Jon Jones and Holly Holm at Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, N.M. 

While Shields will look to become the first woman to hold simultaneous titles in both MMA and boxing, she isn't the first Olympian to have success at the sport.

Ronda Rousey won a bronze medal in Judo in 2008, before becoming the UFC's inaugural Women's bantamweight champion.

Two-time Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison won the PFL's Women's Lightweight championship in 2019, and Olympic wrestling champion Henry Cejudo became the second fighter to win and defend two belts in UFC history last year. Cejudo's U.S. Olympic teammate, Daniel Cormier was the first.

Elkin, who has three professional wins, also served as Harrison's debut foe in 2018. 

The main card airs on ESPN2 at 10 p.m., and Shields and Elkin will fight in the main event.

 
  • Date: Thursday, June 10
  • ​​​​​​Main card: 10 p.m. ET
  • Main event: 11:30 p.m. ET

Shields and Elkin are expected to make their walks to the cage around 11:30 p.m. ET, depending on the length of the earlier fights.