Undefeated Boxing Champion Claressa Shields Becomes First Woman to Win MMA Match in Saudi Arabia


March 1, 2024

Undefeated boxing champion, Claressa Shields, has etched her name in history by becoming the first woman to win a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bout in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The victory took place in Saudi Arabia on February 24, where Shields faced off against Kelsey De Santis.

According to a report by CNN, Shields’ triumph adds another laurel to her career, enhancing her 14-0 record in boxing and improving her 2-1 record as an MMA fighter. This historic win follows her previous MMA match against Abigail Montes in October 2021.

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Reflecting on her hard-fought victory, Shields acknowledged the challenges of her training camp, emphasizing her deep respect for the sport. She expressed the dedication she has poured into her MMA journey, vowing to return to the gym and work even harder. “It’s not easy what I’m trying to do and I’ve been so respectful of the sport. I put a lot of hard work in, I’m going to go back to the gym and work harder. I almost got my arm snapped in the freakin’ armbar. I had to fight out of that.”

Opening up about the rigorous preparation leading up to the bout, Shields revealed the emotional toll it took on her. “There were days in camp where I was literally in tears,” she shared. “I was not considering going back to the gym because it was so hard, but I forced myself to go back, and that’s how I got the win tonight.”

Shields’ historic MMA match aligns with a broader trend of rising female MMA fighters in Saudi Arabia, following the kingdom’s relaxation of conservative norms. In January, Hattan Alsaif made history as the first Saudi woman to join an international MMA promotion.

Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Shields remains a top contender, relentless against the challenges that come her way. Talks are circulating about a potential MMA bout between Shields and Britain’s Savannah Marshall, building on their previous encounter in a world middleweight title boxing match in London in October 2022.


Claressa Shields continues to inspire a new generation of athletes, proving that resilience and determination know no boundaries, and paving the way for others to follow in her historic footsteps.

Cover photo: Undefeated Boxing Champion Claressa Shields Becomes First Woman to Win MMA Match in Saudi Arabia / Credit: Revel

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