Claressa Shields is walking away from her first blow of defeat with a lot to think about.
It was less than one full year ago that Claressa Shields made the decision to begin an MMA career and sign with PFL. Roughly seven months after making this life-changing decision, she found herself in the Decagon against a much more experienced adversary in seven-year pro Brittney Elkin. Elkin gave Shields all she could handle in the Olympian’s highly hyped debut, but the never-quit attitude of the Flint, Michigan native was on display in her come-from-behind victory last June.
There was no fairytale ending this time, as Shields dropped a split decision to Abigail Montes yesterday at the 2021 PFL World Championship. Though Shields is encouraged by some of the things she did well in her second pro fight, she can’t help but eke out some residual frustration that her opponent opted to go for the dadgum takedown.
“I did better in there. I did pretty good on the cage,” Shields told ESPN immediately following her loss. “It was always the ground stuff. Gotta get better at defending the takedown and stuff. The game plan was to just do better than my last fight. Of course to win [also], but do better.
“It continues to show us what we need to work on, and I worked damn hard in camp. I knew I would look better. It was the last round that did it for me. She went for the goddamn takedown, and I didn’t respond quick enough.”
As you might have guessed, Shields is already well aware of what is priority #1 when she returns to the Jackson Wink MMA gym in the near future. And in case you were wondering, no, she has no plans of quitting MMA.
“Continue more ground game, continue more training; getting better,” Shields said. “I’ve got two more years left, so it’s not over.”
Do you think Claressa Shields has what takes to rebound from her first MMA loss?