Jake Shields Q & A
By Joe Hall
Jake Shields recently completed his climb to the top of Shooto by submitting Ray Cooper and capturing the promotion’s middleweight (167-pound) championship on July 9 in Hawaii. The bout for the vacant title brought revenge for Shields, who had dropped a majority decision to Cooper in August 2002. It also marked the culmination of Shields’s undefeated run through the Shooto ranks that had begun in December 2002 with an upset win over Hayato Sakurai. FCF caught up with the new Shooto Middleweight Champion to get his thoughts on the bout, his opponents over the last two years and his Cesar Gracie teammates.
FCF: Describe how the rematch against Ray Cooper played out from your perspective.
Jake Shields: Basically, I came out and was trying to strike with him a little bit. I wanted to strike with him for a little while then take him down, but he ended up taking me down. I wasn’t ready for that. I got caught off guard and then ended up sweeping him with a half guard sweep. He kind of scrambled back to his feet. Then I believe I took him down, passed his guard and ended up taking his back and choking him. I believe it took about three minutes.
FCF: There have been some claims that you held on to the choke too long. Describe how the match ended from your view.
JS: I put my head on one side and started choking him. He started tapping the mat on the other side, so I couldn’t really feel what was going on. I felt that he was going out, but I couldn’t feel him tapping and I didn’t want any controversy. There’s been several fights where someone doesn’t tap or says they didn’t tap and they have to restart it. I just wanted to end the fight. I didn’t feel anyone tap. I stopped when I felt the ref. I mean, Cooper is somebody I have a lot of respect for, but I just wanted to finish the fight.
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