Unable to make the impact in the UFC welterweight division he would have liked to, Jake Shields is now toying with the idea of returning to the middleweight division, where he had a long run beating top-flight competition. “It’s something I’ve thought about before and I was thinking about it [before] this fight, but they offered me this fight [and] I took it. Especially with my teammate, Nick Diaz, challenging for the welterweight title, it’s definitely in the back of my mind going up to 185 [pounds],” the black belt is quoted as saying on the MMAWeekly.com website.
At middleweight Shields won the Strikeforce title and even beat the likes of Dan Henderson and Jason Miller. At welterweight he didn’t see the same fortune, struggling to eke out a split decision over Martin Kampmann, losing his title bid to Georges Saint-Pierre, and losing to Jake Ellenberger by TKO.
A Cesar Gracie student and training partner to Nick and Nate Diaz, Shields sees a move up as a way to avoid not putting a strain on his longtime friendships. “I’d fight sparring partners, but [Nick and I] are different. We trained together for, like, 11 years; so it’s a little different. We’re not just casual sparring partners. There’s a big difference,” he says in the same article.
Shields’s next date in the octagon comes at UFC 144 against judo stylist Yoshihiro Akiyama, who will be making his welterweight debut. The event will be held February 26 at Japan’s traditional Saitama Super Arena, and the main event is a thrilling lightweight title showdown between champion Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson. Check out the card:
Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japão
26 de fevereiro de 2012
Frankie Edgar vs Ben Henderson
Quinton Jackson vs Ryan Bader
Cheick Kongo vs Mark Hunt
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Jake Shields
Joe Lauzon vs Anthony Pettis
Yushin Okami vs Tim Boetsch
Riki Fukuda vs Steve Cantwell
Norifumi Yamamoto vs Vaughan Lee
Takanori Gomi vs George Sotiropoulos
Takeya Mizugaki vs Chris Cariaso
Tiequan Zhang vs Leonard Garcia
Hatsu Hioki vs Bart Palaszewski