Claressa Shields, in addition to being an undefeated and once-undisputed boxing champion, will this year step into the mixed martial arts cage in an attempt to become a multi-sport world titleholder one day.
Her career choice led to natural comparisons to UFC star Conor McGregor, who became the company's first ever reigning champion of two weight classes at one time before stepping into the boxing ring to unsuccessfully challenge the unbeaten record of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In a recent interview with Marc Gatford via the Betway Insider blog, Shields explained how McGregor went out of his way to help and advise her when she made her intentions known.
“It was very welcoming," she said. "To me, Jon Jones is the GOAT in MMA, but Conor McGregor was considered the GOAT once upon a time too and they’re both great in their own right.
"I just feel when Conor reached out, I feel like in a way he actually cared and he was wishing me good luck and that’s what I appreciated most.
"He didn’t have to give me any advice, he could have just seen it and kept on but instead he was like ‘I’m going to give out this advice’, and it was great; I took it, I use it and hopefully everything goes as it’s supposed to go.”
McGregor's pursuit of a second huge money boxing fight against Manny Pacquiao is regarded by many as one of the reasons he was not at his best when he was defeated by Dustin Poirier in their second UFC fight in January.
Shields believes he can win the trilogy, if as expected the duo run it back one more time. However she feels the Irishman would need to be completely committed to the cage this time around.
She said: "Yeah, Conor can avenge it but it’s going to take some hard work. He’s been out of the MMA cage for a while, I know he had his last fight but before his last fight he’d probably been out two or three years.
"I would say he needs to get out of the boxing mindframe to win that fight. He had his front foot too forward, too much weight on his leg, more like a boxer’s stance. It’s like he needs to get back to having light feet and [being] quick and explosive, using all his attributes, not just his punches; punches, kicks, knees, he needs to get back being creative.
"But I tell you what, it’s hard to do, it’s hard to cut off the boxing switch and cut on the MMA switch. When you’re doing both it’s hard, you have to be very mentally strong and say ‘this is MMA, everything goes’ and then you have to click that button and go to boxing and say ‘this is boxing, there are rules’ so it’s hard and I can just imagine that after being out of the cage for so long that his mind was adjusting and still looking to land those big shots.
"He probably didn’t generate it in his mind, he needs to go his mind and click on the ‘everything’ switch and use every part of the body as a weapon. I know he was boxing against Floyd but he needs to cut off the boxing switch and focus strictly on MMA for at least three or four months.”