Remember back in 2008 when the New England Patriots were on their way to the first undefeated season in the NFL since the legendary 1972 Miami Dolphins team, and the New York Giants decided to spoil their party?
Well now you know how Jake Shields feels going into possibly the biggest fight of his career at UFC 129 in Toronto when he faces Georges St-Pierre.
Following Anderson Silva’s face kicking knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126, the fight on everyone’s mind was Silva vs. GSP. While it’s been a dream fight for a long time, Shields is still a very big obstacle standing in the way of that bout ever coming to reality.
“I’ve been saying this fight is all just a dream fight right now. And everybody keeps acting like he’s going to get past (Jake) Shields. I think Jake Shields loves that (expletive),” UFC President Dana White pointed out when speaking about GSP vs. Silva. “Jake Shields has been a low key guy his entire career and a lot of people don’t realize what a record this kid has.
“I know how I felt, and I know how everybody in this room felt right now, and if you say otherwise you’re a liar, thought that Dan Henderson was going to kill him. Dan Henderson was going to kill him and so did Strikeforce, and he didn’t. So you can’t count Jake Shields out.”
Much like the fight with St-Pierre, Shields was a heavy underdog when he stepped in the cage with former UFC middleweight Dan Henderson in April 2010. What resulted was a dominant victory by Shields that helped prove all the naysayers wrong.
In April 2011, he’s hoping to do the same exact thing except this time in the UFC.
White believes that many fans are not as high on Shields because he didn’t have the greatest debut in the UFC back in October 2010 in a fight against Martin Kampmann. Shields was still victorious, but not in the form or fashion many expected from the highly touted former Strikeforce champion.
“The other thing that makes people think that is because of the fight he just had in the UFC, too. But the great thing about that fight for him, listen (Martin) Kampmann’s a tough guy, and I say it about everybody and including Jake Shields, everybody’s first fight in the UFC is a (expletive). It’s tough for them. Guys just have a lot of pressure on them for their first UFC fights,” White said.
White also doesn’t shy away from the fact that Jake Shields is a deserving contender to St-Pierre’s title. He’s said continuously over the last few years that before any champion moves up in weight to try and conquer other obstacles they should first clear out the division they’re currently in.
St-Pierre still has at least one more test to go at 170lbs before he can even think about a fight with Anderson Silva.
“Now that Jake Shields is here, he should have to beat Jake Shields,” White said about GSP.
It might be like déjà vu all over again for Shields because almost one year to the day after he faced improbable odds against Henderson, he’ll have a similar test in front of him with Georges St-Pierre.
When reached for comment about everyone’s expectations regarding GSP vs. Silva, Shields responded to MMAWeekly.com by text message.
“Yeah, I plan to spoil that fight,” Shields said.
He’ll have his chance on April 30 in Toronto when he faces Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title.