(Reuters) – Twice-Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields is making a move into mixed martial arts, the three-division world champion announced on Tuesday saying she will join the Professional Fighters League (PFL).
Shields, the middleweight gold medalist at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, turned professional after the Rio Games and has a perfect 10-0 record becoming the fastest boxer to earn titles in three different divisions.
The 25-year-old American will continue to box professionally and joins the PFL with the stated goal of becoming the “greatest two-sport athlete of all time”.
“What drew me to the PFL is that it is definitely a fighter-first organization, and I can’t wait to be a part of that,” said Shields in a statement. “Since turning pro it has been my goal to be the GWOAT (Greatest Woman of All Time) and to be a two-sport star like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders.
“I want to go where no man or woman has gone and hold championships in both boxing and MMA at the same time.”
Shields will participate in a series of “special attraction” fights in 2021 and look to enter the league for the 2022 season.
PFL presents MMA in a format where individuals compete in a regular season, playoffs, and championship for a million-dollar prize.
Shields will not be the only double Olympic champion in the PFL as the league also includes Kayla Harrison, the winner of judo gold at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Games.
“Claressa is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete who has already accomplished in boxing what no man or woman has ever done,” said Shields’ manager, Mark Taffet.
“She now looks to continue to make history by becoming the first man or woman to hold championships in both boxing and MMA simultaneously.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Christian Radnedge)