One of the few fighters to ever win two Olympic gold medals in boxing, Claressa Shields, visited UFC star Cris Cyborg in Los Angeles over the weekend, and was impressed by her boxing skills.
The Brazilian veteran invited Shields over to her gym as she prepares to face Megan Anderson for the vacant UFC featherweight championship at UFC 214 on July 29, and “T-Rex”, now undefeated as a professional boxer with three wins, talked about her training on Cyborg’s social media.
"I looked at (Cyborg’s films) and I was like 'ok, I see a few things that I wanna tell her to work on,' and then, the best way to learn is from experience,” Shields said. "From today, she’d be a great transition in over to boxing. It would be not be hard for you. A year of just training in boxing, six months, you’ll able to take on some of the top girls.
"She’s physically strong, physically fast, very athletic. Only thing, you just gotta work on the whole breathing thing. I think MMA and boxing is like swimming and running, especially when it comes to breathing. Cris is strong, she’s fast.”
Cyborg is the best 145-pounder in women’s MMA history, arguably the best pound-for-pound ever, and Shields is confident that the Brazilian would be a “very competitive” fight for one of the top female boxers in the world if she focuses on evolving as a boxer.
"It’d be a heck of a match-up between her and Cris,” Shields said of 31-0 boxer Cecilia Braekhus, who holds the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO welterweight belts. "That would be a really good fight. Wouldn't be like Cecilia Braekhus would just have in the bag. And long as Cris is in shape, gets the boxing down and be focused on it, it would be very, very competitive."
"It’s really hard from MMA because you have to train and mix everything, you train jiu-jitsu, you can’t focus in one thing,” Cyborg said. "Imagine with one year, just training boxing, I think it would be really nice. I’m interested, maybe one day."
"You'd be a monster,” Shields said.
Me and @criscyborg sparring a small clip ❤️ pic.twitter.com/PDYwhOEtDJ— ClaressaT-rexShields (@Claressashields) June 25, 2017
The 31-year-old Brazilian, who holds a 17-1 MMA record and has competed in pure muay thai bouts and pure grappling matches before, winning two gold medals at the IBJJF world championship and a bronze medal at the ADCC, has never entered a boxing ring before.
"I already did competition in just jiu-jitsu, already did competition just muay thai, I did just wrestling, and one thing that I never did was one boxing fight,” Cyborg said. "I went to Thailand and made the muay thai camp, just muay thai, and I lived muay thai every day there. I think you get better experience, you learn a lot of things.
"If I go to the (Shield's) gym, where she’s training just boxing, I think I’m gonna learn a lot of things, a lot of experiences, and to improve my game and better better, for me it would be amazing. I told her, after my fight I’m gonna be with her and train every day and follow her, and learn.”