Olympic boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields has every intention of taking her time in her transition to MMA, but there is a certain somebody she expects to meet during her journey.
As premature as it may be, there is no way around it: A fight between Claressa Shields and Kayla Harrison is now possible, and as long as they are in the same promotion, the anticipation and sheer hope that this fight takes place is inevitable. The fight hypes itself. You have two Olympic gold medalists: one in judo, the other in boxing. And if Shields gets off to an undefeated start the same way Kayla Harrison has, then the only question will be in what promotion will the fight happen.
Kayla Harrison is the 2019 PFL women’s lightweight tournament champion, but it may be a matter of time before she switches to a larger promotion to compete at featherweight. But it’s also possible that Harrison and Shields remain in PFL long enough to face one another. This is a possibility that Claressa Shields expects and is even hoping for.
“Just me being who I am, of course, I want to fight the best,” Shields told ESPN recently about Kayla Harrison. “Right now, she’s the best. She’s the winner of the PFL league. She won the million dollars, and I was able to watch all of her fights leading up to that not because I was getting ready to come to the PFL, but because I’m a fan of hers and we’re actually friends. We’ve been at both Olympics together. We know each other.
“I actually texted her this morning, so of course that’s who I’m looking at down the line.”
Claressa Shields also acknowledged that the best laid plans often go awry and that even if she and Harrison find themselves in the same lightweight tournament, there could be an upset that prevents the two from crossing paths as anything could happen. But any tournament with these two women in the brackets would certainly garner the interest of the MMA community and bring in a lot of new viewers to the PFL.
What do you think the chances are that we ever see a fight between Claressa Shields and Kayla Harrison?