Opinion: Who Does Jake Shields Fight Next?
By Michael Hatamoto
Former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields was able to grind out a split decision victory against Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 29, upsetting the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter in front of a stunned Brazilian crowd.
I don’t care what people say about Shields’ striking ability and grinding fight style, he showed he has what it takes to be in a top 10 fighter. Both Shields and Maia fought their hearts out for 25-minutes, as both fighters looked extremely tired by the championship rounds.
This was an important fight for Shields, as the 34-year-old brought his UFC record to 4-2-1, though hasn’t finished a fight inside the octagon. He will still need at least two wins in 2014 against a top-ranked welterweight before the UFC even begins to consider him a title contender again.
Here is what Shields said post-fight:
“That was one of my hardest one or two fights of my career. That ranks up there with GSP or Dan Henderson; that guy is a phenom. I expected that going in. He gave me all I could handle and I’m just thankful I got the win tonight.”
The American Jiu Jitsu (AJJ) practitioner said he wants another shot at UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, but that’s not a matchup the UFC will likely make. Besides, it’s possible GSP might call it a career if he defends his championship against Johny Hendricks next month, as he has dominated the division.
Instead, I think a rematch against Jake Ellenberger would be a fight both Jakes would be onboard for; if not, the winner of Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown would seem to make a lot of sense.
Follow Full Contact Fighter to hear more about what the UFC will offer Shields in 2014.