UFC 161: Jake Shields Planning To “Humble” Tyron Woodley, “Put a Beating” on Rising Welterweight
By Kelsey Mowatt
When you’ve been fighting for well over ten years and have had the kind of career Jake Shields has, then it’s understandable that the 34 year-old vet remains focused on ascending the sport’s rankings again. Up next, Shield will take on Tyron Woodley at UFC 161, who although he may not a household name yet in “UFC only” circles, the former Strikeforce vet continues to impress.
“First off, he’s not the biggest name, I was hoping for a bigger name, but as far as an opponent goes he’s a really tough and skilled opponent,” Shields said while appearing on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently. “He’s got some really big wins; he’s a phenomenal wrestler and he’s got a lot better. His jiu-jitsu’s not bad, so he’s all around a tough guy. I think I have more experience than him, so I plan on going out there and bringing the fight to him.”
Woodley scored a quick KO win over Jay Hieron in his Octagon debut at UFC 156, to rebound from the stoppage loss he incurred versus Nate Marquardt last July with Strikeforce, which was his only pro defeat to date. Since Shields is hoping to work his way back into the title shot mix, defeating one of the sport’s rising welterweights would be an exceptional place to start.
“Definitely; especially if I’m going out there and winning these big fights in an impressive fashion,” said Shields, while discussing what he needs to do to return to the top of the rankings, where he was positioned just two years ago. “I don’t want to just beat Tyron I want to put him away, so that people are like ‘wow, this is the old Jake Shields.’ Beat him and then hopefully fight a top contender. I’m hoping to get another shot at (Jake) Ellenberger or one of those guys.”
It’s no industry secret that Shields is one of MMA’s most feared grapplers, and that in particular, his top game is something that should be avoided at all costs. Since Woodley is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler, however, it will be interesting to see whether Shields’ renowned jiu-jitsu skills will come into play.
“It’s hard to say how this fight is going to go…,” noted Shields, who hasn’t fought since his decision win over Ed Herman last August was overturned to a no contest, after he failed his post fight drug test. “So I feel like he’s probably not going to want to mess with my jiu-jitsu, so he’s probably going to try to keep it standing and bang, but you never know. If I start hitting him his instincts might take over and he may try to take me down. I’ve prepared for everything.”
“I think he has great takedown defense,” furthered Shields, when asked if he’s confident in his abilities to take the June 15th bout to the mat. “He’s a top, Division 1 wrestler…He’s done quite a bit and he’s hard to takedown, but, I plan on going in there and bringing the pressure. It’s different when you’re straight wrestling and throwing punches. Hopefully I can get him on his back and tap him out.”
Although Woodley wasn’t on Shields radar before their bout was signed, when the 31 year-old was still with Strikeforce, it appeared as though he was destined to fight Shields’ longtime teammate Nick Diaz. Although Diaz left for the UFC before the two could fight, Woodley was never shy about the fact that he wanted to fight the former Strikeforce champ, and that he believed he could beat him.
“I don’t really know Tyron that well personally, but yeah, I don’t really care for him,” said Shields. “It seems like he has a big ego problem and he thinks he’s the best fighter out there. I want to go out there and humble him a bit, let him know that he’s not. I want to put a beating on him. Maybe he’s not a bad guy, I don’t know him at all, but he has an attitude I don’t care for.”
UFC 161 will be hosted by the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the main card will be available via pay-per-view.