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Holly Holm: Claressa Shields has tools, ambition to excel in MMA

Holly Holm thinks Claressa Shields has what it takes to find success in MMA.

Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and boxing champion, signed a contract with PFL last November in which she’ll make her MMA debut and compete in one-off fights at lightweight. She won’t partake in the upcoming season.

Former UFC bantamweight champion Holm, who transitioned from boxing to MMA herself, is the perfect person to give insight into Shields, who no doubt should be aiming for the same success. The pair have been training together at Jackson Wink MMA where Shields has been working on her kicks, clinch work and wrestling.

While Shields is currently dabbling in both MMA and boxing, Holm thinks she’s garnered enough experience in her combat sports career, which should help her once she’s in the cage. Through working with her, Holm can tell that Shields is taking this seriously and has the drive to succeed.

“I think some of the biggest things I truly feel going from one sport to another is being humble, being disciplined, and having your own self-drive and ambition,” Holm told MMA Junkie. “If somebody has all those things then they can do it. I think that she has the ambition, she has the dedication, she has the self-motivation, and if it’s something that she wants to do and puts her heart to – she’s a fast learner, she’ll be able to pick this stuff up, and she’s not new to being in the spotlight. She’s not new to pressure being on her. There’s a lot of things she’s already experienced.”

Holm continued, “She’s been in front of big stands. She’s been in front of a lot of eyes just even as an amateur being in the Olympics and everything. When I was an amateur, I was fighting in front of 200, 300 people, so then my pro fight was already a lot and then my first title fight was like wow, it was kind of a different feeling. Then going into MMA still was more people watching at that time than what had been watching in my career, so she’s gonna have some familiarities of that. And anytime you experience it once, it’s always easier the next time around.”

Shields is yet to have her first MMA fight booked, but she is scheduled for her next boxing match against Marie-Eve Dicaire in a 154-pound title unification bout on March 5. Holm will serve as part of the broadcast team for the all women’s pay-per-view event.

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