In the wake of her win over Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245, Amanda Nunes barely had a chance to celebrate before she fielded questions about a potential showdown with multi-division boxing champion Claressa Shields.
Shields was in attendance that night and told the assembled media that she wanted to challenge Nunes in a pair of fights: She would first cross over to MMA, and then Nunes would return the favor in a boxing match.
Nunes quickly shot down the idea of facing Shields on her turf, but she welcomed the two-time Olympic gold medalist testing herself with a move to the UFC.
But American Top Team owner Dan Lambert, who celebrated in the Octagon with Nunes following her win at UFC 245, doesn’t see the point in either fighter crossing over.
As great as Shields might be in boxing, Lambert said, she would be vastly overmatched to take on arguably the greatest women’s mixed martial artist in history in her first MMA fight.
“Claressa would probably get smashed,” Lamber told MMA Fighting when asked about an MMA fight with Nunes. “I mean why didn’t Floyd [Mayweather] want to fight Conor in MMA? I give Claressa less chances of beating Amanda in MMA than I gave Conor beating Floyd [in boxing]. It’s not her sport.
“You can’t go a lifetime of training in boxing with no sprawling and no wrestling and no grappling. How do you expect someone like that to cross over? I guess you’ve got that one in a million miracle shot that could land. I don’t know.”
On the flipside, Lambert gives Nunes a better chance in a boxing match against Shields. But even he has to concede it would still be lopsided odds against the two-division UFC champion.
“Claressa would be a monster favorite in a boxing match,” Lambert said. “I think Amanda’s a unique specimen with how hard she hits. As a female fighter, I think she’s kind of a unicorn when it comes to that, so I would say the gap between the two is much narrower if Amanda were to challenge a boxer than if a boxer would challenge an MMA fighter.
“There’s just so many ways for Amanda to win an MMA. There’s only one way for Claressa to win a boxing match. So I would think that it’s smaller, but it would still be a really, really big gap for Claressa [in boxing]. That’s all she does.”
Obviously, Nunes could potentially cash in a bigger payday to face a boxer like Shields in a mixed martial arts fight but realistically, Lambert just doesn’t see how it would be competitive whatsoever.
“They’re different sports,” Lambert said. “Just because people get punched in both of them don’t make them the same sport. I like hype. I like promotions. I like setting up big fights. But realistically speaking, how are you going to take someone who’s the best at one sport and think that somebody else could beat them because they are the best in the world at another sport?
“That’s like asking the best MMA grappler to go have a grappling match with Gordon Ryan. All that dude does is train grappling, and he’s the best in the world at it because that’s all he does. Where an MMA fighter has to work on his grappling, but he’s got to work on his boxing, his kickboxing, his wrestling, there’s just so many other things that he has to concentrate on where Gordon Ryan only has to concentrate on one part of it. It’s just not fair.”