Claressa Shields reveals what sparked interest in crossover fight with UFC star Amanda Nunes and why she is prepared to enter cage to repay Conor McGregor for taking on Floyd Mayweather
Undisputed middleweight fighter Claressa Shields says she will enter the MMA cage to silence those who believe UFC star Amanda Nunes is a more accomplished boxer.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist takes on Ivana Habazin in Atlantic City on Friday as she aims to win a world title in a third weight class after a record 10 professional bouts.
But the 24-year-old is already looking past her upcoming bout as interest continues to grow for a crossover fight against UFC's Brazilian bantamweight champion Nunes, a clash Shields admits she has been looking at since December 2018.
“I remember when Amanda Nunes knocked out Cris Cyborg and, I don’t know who said it, but they said, ‘Amanda Nunes has the best hands that we’ve seen in any sport, boxing or MMA,’ and I was like, ‘No! We are not going to do that," she said.
"We are not going to say that Amanda Nunes has better hands than me. I’m a two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing. I just wasn’t going to settle for that.
“That’s why I wanted to have a fight with her in boxing because when she beats girls in the UFC, the majority [of her wins] are with her hands. She knocked out Cris Cyborg with one punch. For me, I want to get in there and fight her because of that.”
A similar cross-sport contest took place between legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather and Irish UFC superstar Conor McGregor in August 2017, a fight which was licensed under boxing rules.
And while Shields would undoubtedly be more comfortable if the clash with Nunes was conducted in a boxing ring, she believes it is only fair to crossover to the MMA cage because McGregor was brave enough go the other way.
“MMA contains boxing, boxing doesn’t contain MMA," she added.
"That’s why I thought the fight would be more fair with boxing. I can understand her feeling like she’s coming in at a disadvantage in boxing, so that’s why I said I would gladly learn some jiu-jitsu and some wrestling, and I already know how to box.
“So I would get in the cage and do it on that side just to make it fair because Mayweather beat up McGregor in boxing, but who knows how Mayweather would do in the cage against McGregor? I feel like I’m young enough to take the time to learn these things and actually get in there and win. I don’t go into nothing like, ‘hopefully I win’, I’m going in there looking for 100-percent win factor.”
Shields has invited Nunes to attend her fight on Friday which is for the WBC and WBO super welterweight titles.