Jake Shields has long been considered one of the top fighters on the planet. The American Jiu-Jitsu master was the first of many Strikeforce champions to cross over to the UFC. He recently stopped by MMA Fight Corner Radio on Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas, and talked about the differences between fighting for Strikeforce and now the largest organization in the sport.
“it’s just that you get more attention in the UFC for sure. I mean, they have a lot of the same fighters jump back and forth. But overall, the UFC has a lot more good fighters, and they get a lot more attention.”
Shields’ teammate Nick Diaz soon followed suit after the purchase of the promotion. Diaz returned to the octagon in impressive fashion, when he defeated BJ Penn back in October. Once again competing in the same division as his teammate, Shields talked about his future at that weight.
“Nick and me don’t really have an interest in fighting each other, you know. We’ve been teammates for 11 years, and that’s something that’s not really on my list of things to do. Me and Nick both go up and down weight. People are always like, you guys are going to have to fight in the UFC, and it’s like no. We fought EliteXC together, Strikeforce together. Even though we’re the same weight, we’re both guys that’ll fight anyone, so either one of us will go up or down. We always find ways to avoid each other.”
With Diaz now fighting for the interim title at welterweight, the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion spoke on a possible return to the division, and a matchup with pound-for-pound great, Anderson Silva
“That’s a fight I’ve wanted for a long time. Anderson’s a phenomenal fighter, one of the best of all time, but I just think stylistically the guys that match up best against him are wrestlers with good jiu-jitsu. Chael did great with him until he got caught in a triangle right at the end. His worst matchup’s against good wrestlers and jiu-jitsu, and it’s just he’s a great matchup. Obviously it wouldn’t be an easy fight because I think he has the best standup in the sport, but that’s a fight I would love an opportunity to do.”
Shields came closs in the past to fighting Silva, back when they both participateed in the 8-man one night Rumble on the Rock Welterweight tournament six years ago. Silva was disqualified in the opening round due to an illegal up-kick that landed on Yushin Okami.
“We were going to fight in the next round, you know, in my fight, and if he would’ve beaten Okami, but then he got disqualified. Yeah, we were about to fight. I was that close to fighting him in the past, never had the opportunity. And I think that was his last loss, even though it was a very controversial loss, I’m pretty sure that’s the last time Anderson’s lost.”
On February 26th, Shields will make his first trip back to Japan in 4 and a half years of competition, when he takes on Yoshihiro Akiyama. This is an important fight for Jake who made his octagon debut back in October of 2010. He was riding a 14 fight win streak at that time. Under the UFC banner he has gone 1-2, dropping his last two welterweight outings to champion GSP and the surging Jake Ellenberger. He talked about preparing for the experienced judoka, Akiyama.
“It’s going to be my basic training camp, but I’ll probably make some small changes, try to find a couple good judo guys, which it’s a real treat if you’re fighting top-notch judo guys like Akiyama. There’s lots of good wrestlers, jiu-jitsu guys, and standup guys, but there’s only a few top judo guys, so I have to look around for that. But other than that, it’s just the same camp. I haven’t really put a game plan together yet. I want to go out there and come back with a big win. Coming off losses, it’s really important to get back on track, and I want to put him away. So you know, I don’t really know the game plan yet, I have to figure that out.”
Jake spoke a little about the Melendez-Masvidal title fight from this past Saturday, and what approach he wanted the Strikeforce Lightweight champion to take.
“Masvidal I think is a really underrated fighter and a tough matchup for Gil, so we knew it was a tough fight going in, but he went out there and did what he had to do, and brought the fight to Masvidal. Personally I would’ve liked to have seen Gil brought him to the ground and try to finish him on the ground. I think he has a big advantage on Masvidal there, but it just turned into a striking match instead, and Gil’s hands are really coming along. His standup keeps getting better and better.”
Jake’s focus is on Akiyama, but keeps an open mind to the future.
“I’d love to see Nick take that belt. And then at that point I’ll try to get through Akiyama and then probably start putting on some weight.”
The preceding comments were made on the MMA Fight Corner radio show which airs LIVE on FOX Sports Radio 920AM Las Vegas