Jake Shields is, without a doubt, a top contender in the UFC and a world-class competitor in all of mixed martial arts. With stature like that, it’s reasonable to think he’d want to fight top competition in the welterweight division.
When he got the call to headline in the Louisiana event, Shields was a little taken back by it because he was hoping to be on the UFC 139 card in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 19. Bouts with B.J. Penn or Jon Fitch seemed like the most attractive pairings for Shields, but those never materialized and Ellenberger is waiting for him, now.
Besides, fighting Ellenberger in New Orleans means being the main attraction. How could he turn that down?
“I fight whoever they tell me, but when they asked me (to fight) Ellenberger, my first reaction was I want to fight someone like B.J. or Fitch,” Shields said on MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition. “But they wanted me to fight Ellenberger and it was a main event. I’m willing to fight whoever they want. I’m not one to say no, especially if it’s a main event. So I said, ‘sure, I’ll do it.’ But I was hoping to fight Fitch on the San Jose card.”
Shields may take whoever the UFC offers him when it comes to fights, but it’s not as though he doesn’t think about other options within the organization. After all, Jon Fitch is still without an opponent and pairing him with Shields seems like a reasonable option. Both are in the top five of the division and have been considered No. 1 contenders recently.
Well, according the Shields, UFC brass was already set in their ways and had a plan laid out for him where they thought he fit best. And if “The Big Easy” is where they want him to fight, that’s where he’ll fight. It’s all good because Shields isn’t one to complain about being in the featured bout of the evening.
By complaining about that, one would have to be idiotic, right?
“I didn’t ask too many questions,” Shields said. “I just asked, ‘you know, what about Fitch?’ And they sounded like they were kind of set.
“Just being in a main event is a big thing. If I were to sit there to complain about that, I’d be an idiot.”
Admittedly, Shields says he doesn’t know much about his Jake counterpart, Ellenberger. But from what he’s seen so far, he’s in for a real tough fight. Where he sees an advantage against Ellenberger is where Shields typically holds the edge in most his fights: jiu-jitsu.
Shields works a style where he incorporates wrestling into his jiu-jitsu to make it more conducive to establishing offense on the ground. With Ellenberger already being a good wrestler with solid boxing skills, Shields will rely on his jiu-jitsu to pull out the win in the bayou.
“He looks like a tough wrestler with pretty good boxing,” he explained. “So, he’s just a basic tough guy, you know. Definitely not taking him lightly. He’s got a lot of power, so he’s got good knockout power, but I think he’s lacking in his jiu-jitsu, my strength.”
Not that he’s looking past Ellenberger – or Fitch and Penn, for that matter – but Shields has always had a fight in his mind that he wants to take before his career is done. With his recent success at middleweight while under the Strikeforce banner, Shields found himself being a competitive 185-pounder. With that said, he desires a fight with the top of that division.
Jake Shields wants Anderson Silva.
Obviously, Silva isn’t getting any younger, so the fight would have to happen relatively soon. The UFC middleweight champion already has a long line of middleweights waiting to face him, so the likelihood that fans will get to see a Silva-Shields match-up is not very high.
Oh, well. One can think about it, though, and Shields thinks it’s a good match-up for him, stylistically. Most of the opponents that have done well against the 185-pound champ have a wrestling base, but Shields thinks his wrestling fused with jiu-jitsu is the key to bringing down Silva.
“I’ve always wanted to fight Anderson Silva, as well,” he said. “I know he’s getting close to the end of his career, so if that’s going to happen, it’d probably have to happen fairly soon.
“Stylistically, I think Anderson is a great fight for me. Some of these wrestlers have done really good against him, but the problem is he’s fighting these wrestlers like Chael, but then they’re not very good at jiu-jitsu, as well. They’re just more pure wrestlers.”
Still, Jake Ellenberger remains priority in Shields’ path. He’ll get the chance to prove his jiu-jitsu holds the edge at UFC Fight Night 25 on Sept. 17 in New Orleans.