Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown”: Jake Shields Has One More Chance To Make It Big
By Joshua Molina
UFC 161 features a big main event featuring Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans.
At 42, Henderson is still a big UFC draw, and one of the more well-respected and liked fighters in the sport.
So it’s ironic that fighting sixth from the top of the show Saturday night is Jake Shields, who is in a career make-or-break fight, against a talented fighter on the rise.
Considering that Shields outwrestled, out-grappled and outlasted Henderson on national television while in Strikeforce in 2010.
But the two have gone vastly different ways since then. Shields has gone downhill and hasn’t looked impressive since the Henderson fight.
Henderson has destroyed all of his competition, with the exception of a safe performance against Lyoto Machida, where he lost a close decision.
The future looked so bright for Shields that night, but for a variety of reasons, his career sort of unraveled after he arrived in the UFC.
A close victory over Martin Kampmann, boring underwhelming performance against Georges St-Pierre, a knockout loss to Jake Ellenberger, not to mention the unexpected loss of his father along way. He won two other fights, but saw one of them overturned because of failing a post fight drug test.
Shields, looking to reclaim his status as one of the best welterweights in the world, must dig deep to defeat Tyron Woodley, an excellent wrestler and and heavy hitter.
If Shields wants a longer career in the UFC, he’s going to need to find that same hunger and fire that drove him earlier in his career when he fought guys like Henderson, Robbie Lawler and Paul Daley.
Shields should be able to dispose of Woodley. Shields is a better overall mixed martial artist than Woodley. Shields has more experience and has defeated more top stars.
He merely needs to avoid getting hit on the chin, but even then he should have the advantage. Henderson knocked him out with a right hand, but Shields recovered and outlasted him.
He should be able to handle Woodley’s power.
If he can’t, Shields might be another good fighter who gets cut, like a Jon Fitch, somebody who is good, but not good enough to win the big one.
Only Shields can dig deep enough to change his destiny.