TWO-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST CLARESSA SHIELDS FIGHTS WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27 IN 2nd MMA FIGHT Not for Title – Not in One of the The $1M Fights AT SEMINOLE HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO LIVE ON ESPN 2, ESPN+ & ESPN app
“In my last fight, she had a background in kickboxing and she also had amateur background in boxing and I thought we were very evenly matched. This fight, I am not taking her lightly.
“I am 1-0 in MMA. I’m not 12-0. She has experience. She has a kickboxing background. I watched her fight and she takes girls down. She’s a ground and pound girl. She throws kicks. She throws punches and combinations and stuff. I have to be very alert for this fight. It is a different kind of fight. I am going for a very competitive fight and she is going to know she was in a fight. I need to not get messed up by her, and mess her up. We are very evenly matched. I’m not taking her lightly and I don’t think she is taking me lightly.
“With the girls I train with, it is very exciting working with them (Holly Holme, Cyborg). I can say, ‘oh I should have done this or I should have done that.’ Instead of watching them and being confused. I’ve been learning on the job and getting better and better. I am being taught arm bars and being taught how to get out of them. I am doing really great at wrestling and learning how to get out of clinches and stuff like that. That stuff used to be confusing now I feel good at it.
“I felt a part of MMA when I made my debut, now I feel a lot more because I know better. I am looking forward to showing the world that I am putting a lot of work in and I am better at Jiu Jitsu and better at wrestling and betting better at being a mixed martial artist overall. I’m just happy that I have a chance to do better. My team and I went back and watched the film and we have a great game plan.
“Well, if I was 30 I wouldn’t be trying MMA. I am 26 so I have a lot of time to learn and I don’t have to rush myself. Next year I can fight in the PFL tourney at 27 and then 28. I think 2023 is the golden year – I will get the chance to get a lot of experience inside the cage and become a great fighter.
“I let the right hand go in boxing just like I do in MMA. I just have to widen my stance a little bit to throw kicks. It’s a little different but fighting is fighting. In order to get a powerful punch you need to twist the boxing and you’ve got to have legs. Others I train with that came from boxing we have to remind ourselves ‘he we still have to use our hands.’
“When I spar with MMA people, they have it up on e with their legs but I have an up on them with my hands. I have great sparring and we all challenge each other and learn from each other. Before my first MMA fight I would forget that I have legs. I was so used to defending myself with my hands in a fight and now I have to use my legs and sometimes I feel like my legs aren’t there and my partners are like ‘OMG, us too.’
“MMA is hard, but boxing is hard also. People think boxers strike harder because MMA fighters can use the ground game but the truth is it’s all kind of equal. Boxers only use their hands and it’s great. But nobody wants to see people own the ground – they want to see punches. You need punches in both. You need punches in MMA and you need punches in boxing. The ground game is hard but if you’re being taught right, you will be good at it.
“I was great at boxing and made a great career out of it. If I become PFL champion that will be great and I can be champion at both at the same time. I don’t think you can do combat sorts if you just like it – you have to LOVE fighting and if you don’t, you’re not going to last long.
“I’m not thinking about Savannah Marshall. Savannah Marshall is thinking about me. After this, I have a boxing match in about a month. She also has a fight. When those are taken care of, then maybe we can talk about fighting each other.
“It takes about a month for me to prepare for a fight. We can look at some tape of my opponent then get ready. My next fight is at 160 and this fight is at 155 so I don’t have to worry about weight. We will look at the girl, game plan and go from there.
“I hear people say that Amanda Nunez and Cyborg have better hand than me but I know that I have the best hands. I think Cyborg could go to boxing but I don’t think the other girls could go to boxing and become champion.
“Bare knuckles? I feel like the rules in boxing, the gloves, are put in place for fighters’ safety and head trauma would become a bigger issue.
“I have proven myself over and over and over again and I never fought PPV on Showtime. I fought in a main event and I sold out arenas, but they won’t pay us even as men. We put on great fights that are entertaining – they see us as valuable but not as valuable as the men. Hopefully they will open their eyes.
“Jake Paul? Please. I don’t know what world people live in that think a person that has no boxing background, a man who has not fought professionally, look, there are a lot of women in boxing that can beat up men, especially an average Joe like Jake Paul. If I was to spar Jake, which is all I would get because a real fight would be too embarrassing, right? But if we were to spar, I would use one hand – not even the banger – I’d use my (left) jab and I could out jab and hook and uppercut him and embarrass him. That’s how skilled I am. It’s not a shot at Jake, but he’s not as good a boxer as me. If you are, go to the Olympics and medal. I’ve sparred against those guys too – Olympic Gold Medallists, Silver Medallists – I’ve sparred against all of them. Those guys would destroy Jake just like I would. I box for real – not play stuff – I box for real.”
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