Claressa Shields, the No. 1 pound-for-pound female boxer, has signed a multiyear deal to return to MMA in 2024. Read about her comeback and her goal to hold championships in both boxing and MMA simultaneously.
Claressa Shields, the renowned pound-for-pound female boxer, has announced her return to the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). The 28-year-old athlete has signed a new multiyear deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), marking her comeback to the PFL SmartCage.
Shields, who holds the undisputed middleweight boxing championship, made her debut in the PFL in 2021, where she achieved a record of 1-1 in two appearances. Now, she is determined to make her mark in both boxing and MMA simultaneously.
In a statement, Shields expressed her excitement about returning to a fighter-first organization like the PFL. She stated, "My goal remains unchanged. I will be the first athlete to hold championships in boxing and MMA simultaneously. I have grown so much since my first MMA fight and cannot wait to put my skills on display."
The details of the new agreement between Shields and the PFL have not been disclosed. However, this partnership signifies the PFL’s commitment to signing top talent from various combat sports disciplines.
Shields made a successful MMA debut with a TKO victory, showcasing her ground game and striking abilities. Although she faced a split decision loss in her second appearance, Shields quickly returned to the boxing ring, defending her middleweight titles three times in just 16 months. ESPN currently ranks Shields as the best female boxer in the world.
The PFL, known for its regular season and playoffs format, has been actively expanding its roster with both traditional and nontraditional fighters. The organization has recently signed notable names such as former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and professional boxer/social media influencer Jake Paul. Additionally, talks are underway regarding a potential merger or acquisition with Bellator MMA.
Peter Murray, the CEO of the PFL, expressed his delight in re-signing Claressa Shields. He emphasized the shared values of the PFL and Shields, stating, "Claressa and the PFL share a fighter-first, merit-based value system and take on the world attitude. We are proud to welcome ‘The GWOAT’ back to the PFL and the sport of MMA."
With Shields’ return to MMA scheduled for 2024, fans and enthusiasts eagerly await her next moves in the cage. Will she achieve her goal of becoming a dual champion in both boxing and MMA? Only time will tell.