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7 May, 2021 21:32

‘I’m not scared of you MMA b*tches’: Female boxer Shields hailed a ‘savage’ by McGregor as she eyes mixed martial arts greatness

‘I’m not scared of you MMA b*tches’: Female boxer Shields hailed a ‘savage’ by McGregor as she eyes mixed martial arts greatness

Claressa Shields, the female boxing champ who has said she is the greatest of all time behind Muhammad Ali, has claimed she can become an MMA great and "it's all fighting" as she prepares to make her debut in her new discipline.

Confrontational Shields claimed in March that she had to sound off about herself in order to earn the adulation she feels she deserves. Two months after warning that she could beat "98 percent" of men, she has played down the discrepancies between her new and old disciplines and been championed by UFC loudmouth Conor McGregor.

The man who made the switch in the opposite direction when he lost to Floyd Mayweather in 2017 has called Shields' move "a rare occurrence that is to be lauded with praise".

"Respect this multi-weight boxing world champion competing in her first MMA fight next month," he said, looking ahead to Shields' bow in the Professional Fighters League (PFL).

"Real courage that a lot of her male counterparts do not possess. Good luck, Clarissa. Another multi-weight, multi-sport savage. Welcome."

Shields thanked McGregor while subtly pointing out that he had misspelled her name. "I’m taking it every bit of serious," she promised. "I’m ready to prove a point, just like you did."

The 26-year-old Michigan athlete has laughed off challenges from boxers including British WBO middleweight champion Savannah Marshall.

A two-time Olympic champion and the current undisputed female light-middleweight title holder, she was once the undisputed ruler at middleweight, all of which could explain why she feels she has little more to prove in pugilism.

"MMA and boxing is different, yes," she accepted, having filmed herself jogging around a PFL ring in preparation for her first fight in around five weeks' time.

"But it’s all fighting. It involves strength, IQ, heart, discipline, diet, lifestyle: all that ish.

"It is not impossible for me to be great at MMA. I have all that it takes. And I’m not scared or intimidated by none of you MMA b*tches."

Shields calls herself the greatest woman of all time in boxing, and another fighter who could lay claim to that crown, four-weight champion Amanda Serrano, backed her bluster.

"That’s what the F I’m talking about, sis," said Serrano. "You ain’t the best by mistake.

"You put in work, you have the discipline and you fear no-one. Put them all on notice. Let’s get it, sis."

There were a few words of caution on social media. "Learning how to fight off submission on your back or throws from girls who have been studying judo for years like Kayla [Harrison] takes time," said one.

"I like that you acknowledge that you want to be a complete fighter. That takes time, though."

Another said: "It can definitely be done – however, it's simply unlikely to hold a belt in a division with great wrestlers or kickers, for example, who have done it forever.

"The key is obviously takedown defense and defending kicks. Those two things, all day and f*cking night."

PFL lightweight Brittney Elkin, who has lost nine of her 16 professional fights including one to Harrison, awaits Shields on June 10. Elkin has won three of her last four bouts and will face the newcomer at lightweight.

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