2024 could be a massive year for Shanelle Dyer. 

The 23-year-old is one of eight of Europe’s elite at 125lbs that will compete in the 2024 PFL European Championship, with the winner taking home, not only, the 2024 title but a cool $100,000 cheque. 

Speaking to Fighters Only ahead of the tournament, Dyer expressed her excitement at finally returning to the cage on June 8 at the Utilita Arena, Newcastle, when she faces Mariam Torchinava. She said:

“I'm so excited for the tournament, I’ve been waiting! I've been in camp basically six months now, (since) my last fight, but I knew that I was going to be in the tournament this year and literally (I’ve been) counting down the days, counting down the months. Six months ago it seemed so far away. It’s literally less than two weeks away and I'm ready, I’m prepared and I just want to fight now."

Although just joining the professional ranks last year, the Great Britain Top Team athlete was extremely active and competed four times in the space of nine months. As she explained, Dyer’s passion for combat plays a huge part in her remaining active and is ready to compete several times this year.

“Personally, I just love fighting. The only thing I want to do is fight like I could fight ten times a year! My coaches are the ones that say ‘No, be smart. You’re a professional now. You have to take only the fights that count. I remember, I think it was 2019, I fought 22 times a one year Muay Thai, MMA and K1 and I won like 20 out of the 22.

“So I love being an active fighter. So, last year, I had four professional fights and I won four professional fights and I turned pro last year and I remember talking to my coaches and my manager and the one thing that we wanted to do is gain experience and activity, and that's what we did last year and that was the major goal and I get to do that a lot with the PFL this year, I'm guaranteed three fights if I win the fights. So that's what I want to do this year!”

The PFL are no strangers to developing and nurturing top prospects, with the likes of Dakota Ditcheva and Simeon Powell shining in last year’s tournament. The opportunity to compete in the tournament for a 4-0 prospect is as big as it gets and Dyer discussed just how much it meant to her to be in this year’s championship. 

“It is huge. This is literally what I want in my career. In the beginning of my career. Me and my coaches sat down with my manager and we wanted a good route, we wanted to growth. And that's what we get in the PFL, we get growth. I'm going to be in the European season this year. I get to fight the best people in Europe. I want to fight the best people in Europe. I want to be the best fight in Europe and solidify my name and I get to do that in the PFL European Season so that's what I'm going to do this year, and that's my goal, to become European champion.”

In the first round of the tournament, the Great Britain Top Team prospect will face the vastly more experienced Torchinava. The Georgian enters the contest riding a five fight win streak, which includes four finishes. Previewing the bout and discussing her opponent, Dyer credited UK MMA veterans, and top coaches, Brad Pickett and Ashleigh Grimshaw for giving her the perfect preparation for the contest. She also believes that Torchinava will not be able to implement her game plan in the bout. She said: 

“She’s really experienced but I don't think she's fought a high level opponent, as such. I think a lot of her opponents haven't been great and she got away (with) a lot. She has a good Jiu Jitsu, like pure Jiu Jitsu but it’s an MMA fight it. I don’t think she has great striking, I don’t think she has great wrestling and where I'm confident, obviously my striking and I'm confident in my wrestling now I have been doing PTs with Brad (Pickett) so I'm confident there, I am doing PTs with Ash (Grimshaw )I am confident on the ground anyways. But for her, I don't think she has a means to get me to the ground and into those dominant position where she would thrive in the fight. 

“I think that I'm going to impose my game plan and basically suffocate her in the cage, which I do to a lot of opponents. I don't think she will be ready for me come next week. I think the fight is going to go to fight is going to start and she's going to try desperately to do something, try to pull me down to the ground, clinch me.

“But I'm experienced. I keep calm in the cage and she won't be able to get me to those positions.”