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Tuesday, Jul 19, 2011

Now That He’s Heard of Ellenberger, Shields Looking to “Destroy” New Foe

By Kelsey Mowatt

In stark contrast to the pre-fight atmosphere that surrounded his bout with Georges St. Pierre in April, Jake Shields has found himself fielding questions about trash talk and animosity as he prepares for his September 17th tilt with Jake Ellenberger. Unlike St. Pierre, who was quick to praise Shields and did little to antagonize the former Strikeforce champ, Ellenberger hasn’t been so reserved. In fact, since Shields made his UFC debut against Martin Kampmann last October, Ellenberger has been rather public about his desire to fight the renowned welterweight.

“I’ve heard he’s been talking a lot of s—t about me but I haven’t heard anything he’s said,” Shields said while discussing Ellenberger and some of his pre-fight comments. “I just keep hearing that he’s running his mouth. I’ve never seen him do an interview; I’ve never heard him do an interview, so I don’t pay much attention to him. I had never heard of him until a couple of months ago.”

When FCF spoke with Ellenberger recently, however, the welterweight acknowledged that he had a lot of respect for Shields and that he holds “nothing personal” against the Cesar Gracie fighter.

“I don’t know anything about this guy,” Shields told FCF. “I know a lot of fighters on a first name basis, and I know how their mind works, if they’re just trying to build hype. Some guys are that way, but with this guy I have no idea if he’s just trying to hype the fight.”

According to Shields he’s not even overly familiar with Ellenberger as a fighter and what kind of skills he possesses at this juncture.

“I’ve asked the UFC for tapes but they haven’t shown up yet,” said Shields. “It will probably be here this week; they’re usually on top of things.”

“I mean obviously I looked his record up when they offered me the fight,” Shields added. “He’s 24 and 5; has a good record and a lot of knockouts. Obviously he’s a good power puncher. At the same time, he beat some good opponents but he’s also beat some guys I’ve never heard of. So I think I’m a big step up in competition for him.”

Ellenberger hasn’t been quiet about sharing his game plan for Shields either, as the experienced wrestler told FCF he’s confident he’ll be able to keep the bout standing and stop the renowned grappler.

“I hear that all the time,” said Shields, who had won 15 straight fights before he lost by unanimous decision to St. Pierre at UFC 129. “GSP was the only guy to keep it standing. I mean, who knows, I don’t know too much about him yet, but either way I plan on getting in his face and getting the fight to the ground.”

It will be interesting to see how Shields rebounds from his loss to St. Pierre, as although he was able to inflict some damage on the champion through his striking, the 32 year-old-fighter’s inability to get the bout to the mat was indeed his undoing.

“I have mixed feelings about the performance,” Shields said. “I was able to win a couple of rounds against GSP, which hasn’t been done in a while, but I lost the fight. You can’t be happy if you lose the fight. I should have pushed the action a little harder, tried a few more takedowns, got in his face more, but I don’t think people realize how hard he is to shoot on, how hard he is to hit.”

While Shields positioned himself at the top of the world rankings due to his successes competing for organizations like Elite XC and Strikeforce, the welterweight has yet to dominate his opposition in the UFC.

“I really want to make an example of this guy,” said Shields. “The last fight against GSP was a close loss, but it was still a loss, so I want to go out there and destroy this guy, and get people wanting to see me in the big fights again.”


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