Get your pillows and blankets ready UFC fans. It is now confirmed that Jake Shields has signed with the UFC. The ex-Strikeforce Middleweight champion confirmed the news on Twitter. Shields will debut at UFC 121 facing Martin Kampmann at welterweight.
The news is hardly a surprise to anyone who has followed this story over the last few months. Shields became a free agent after fulfilling his contract to Strikeforce at Strikeforce: Nashville. Shields headlined the CBS event defeating former UFC and Pride superstar Dan Henderson by decision. Strikeforce never signed Shields to a champion’s clause, thus allowing Shields contract to expire while holding their middleweight title. Strikeforce refused to get into a bidding war for Shields and let their champion a couple of weeks back.
[adinserter block=”2″]The UFC signing Shields is hardly groundbreaking news. Shields and the UFC have had a good relationship for awhile. Shields was an assistant coach on Chuck Liddell’s team on this past The Ultimate Fighter but was never acknowledged on camera. Dana White began courting Shields immediately after Strikeforce: Nashville. One week later, White tipped his hat early when he sat with Jake Shields at WEC 48 and mouthed, “He’s mine” referring to Strikeforce’s middleweight champion. The only thing newsworthy about this story is that it took almost three months for the deal to get done.
I don’t know what kind of a coup it is to sign Jake Shields. There is no denying that Jake Shields is a very talented fighter. But if there is anything that Dana White likes entertaining fighters, first in some cases to talent. Jake Shields is hardly an entertaining fighter. Hardcore MMA fans love his style of ground and pound wrestling. Casual MMA fans have grown to detest Shields due to this same style. Other than sticking it to Strikeforce, I can’t understand why Dana White has made such a huge fuss over Jake Shields. Believe me, a couple of fights like the one he had against Mayhem Miller and Shields will be back in Strikeforce before you know it.
[adinserter block=”1″]The other interesting nugget to this story is that Jake Shields will be fighting at welterweight. Shields reportedly wanted to compete at middleweight, so the drop in weight class was the UFC’s doing. Shields will be fighting Martin Kampmann at UFC 121 with the winner ideally fighting the Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koshcheck winner. Shields vs. either one of those guys has the potentially to be deadly boring, especially GSP. A Koshcheck vs. Shields match would probably be just downright brutal. I think a fight against Anderson Silva at middleweight would have been much more intriguing and exciting. This isn’t to say it won’t happen, but I think the road to GSP or Koshcheck is a much less interesting road than the payoff of a Jake Shields vs. Anderson Silva middleweight champion vs. middleweight champion clash.
Of course Jake Shields has to get through Martin Kampmann first and as we have seen many times in MMA, things rarely go as planned. All of the sudden I just became a huge Martin Kampmann fan.
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