Claressa Shields will team up with Henry Cejudo, a former two-weight UFC champion, for her upcoming PFL match.
After her undisputed middleweight championship bout with Savannah Marshall was postponed until September, Shields plans to return to MMA next year.
Shields, a two-time Olympic gold winner, began her MMA career in 2020 when she signed a three-year deal with PFL.
Last June, the 27-year-old won her professional debut in the cage, stopping Brittany Elkin at PFL 4. However, later that year, she was defeated by a split decision. At that point she received a lot of criticism from Jake Paul – who outed her for asking to be featured on his undercard.
Shields has now returned to boxing, defending her middleweight title against Ema Kozin in February.
Shields stated she would train with Cejudo. She will train at his ‘Fight Ready’ camp in Arizona before her next fight to improve her ground game before returning to the cage. Cejudo is a sure choice when it comes to wrestling considering he has won a gold Olympic medal in freestyle wrestling.
“I am going to go to train with Henry Cejudo in Arizona and spend some time there,” Shields told Mirror.
“I’ll get him to improve my wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills. Just becoming a better MMA fighter, there are a few things I want to sharpen up on.”
“Somebody asked me ‘if you had to create the perfect fighter, who would you create?’ Of course I’d keep myself, but I would add Cejudo, Kamaru Usman, Jon Jones and Holly Holm.”
“All of them have good attributes, but Cejudo is great. He’s a two-weight UFC champion and Olympic champion in wrestling. He mastered MMA so who better to work with than him?”
Shields acknowledged that being unbeaten in the ring as a professional puts a lot of pressure on her shoulders to succeed in MMA. She wants to capture Marshall’s WBO championship in September to become an undisputed champion. She then wants to devote the rest of 2023 to MMA training.
“I know I can be PFL champion one day,” she concluded.
“Will it be in 2023 or 2025? Who knows, but I know that if I have the time to train and get the experience I will do very well. It’s just that, I haven’t had the time yet as I’ve been in MMA for around a year.”
“I haven’t been able to train as much MMA as I would like because my boxing has picked up a lot. I’m having an undisputed boxing match and then I’m fighting in the PFL.”