by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
There were some false starts last week, but it’s official now that Jake Shields has signed his new deal to become a UFC fighter. He will debut later this year in the welterweight division.
Shields confirmed the signing exclusively with MMAWeekly.com on Monday.
The deal to get Shields into the UFC has been expected for some time now, but it was just a matter of getting the right deal done, and it has now been signed, sealed and delivered.
Shields left his Strikeforce middleweight championship behind, riding a 14-fight winning streak into the Octagon.
Shields also confirmed previous reports that he will indeed drop back down to the welterweight division, after spending the last three fights at 185 pounds while in Strikeforce.
His first fight will be at UFC 121 in Anaheim, Calif., against Top 10 welterweight Martin Kampmann, who last fought in June, winning a unanimous decision over Paulo Thiago.
Shields vs. Kampmann could end up being a top contender’s fight with the winner getting a shot against the winner of the fight between UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck.
(UPDATED with Shields’ first UFC opponent, Martin Kampmann.)