by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The end game for Jake Shields wasn’t just a UFC contract.
A top ranked fighter in the welterweight division before moving up to middleweight, where he promptly took out three top fighters in that division to claim Strikeforce gold, Shields finally realized his dream on Monday when he inked the deal that officially made him a UFC fighter.
Through all the negotiations and weight class talk, there has only been one thought that has tattooed itself on Shields’ brain. He wants a UFC title, and he wants to go through Georges St-Pierre to get it.
For several years now, Shields has talked about fighting the UFC’s top dog in the welterweight division, and now it appears he could be one fight away from making that dream a reality. He faces Martin Kampmann in a pivotal contender’s contest in October at UFC 121.
“GSP is a fight I’ve wanted for like three years now,” Shields explained when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio.
St-Pierre is set to defend his title this December against Josh Koscheck, and while Shields admits to being friendly and even training with Koscheck in the past, he’s always had his sights set on GSP.
Knowing that he’d have to go through a top fighter to get to St-Pierre, Shields immediately had an eye on Kampmann following the win he racked up in June at UFC 115.
“I thought about him right after he beat Paulo Thiago,” said Shields.
There’s been nothing set in stone by the UFC or commented on by UFC president Dana White about the fight between Shields and Kampmann being a number one contender’s fight, but Shields believes that the winner will be in the cat bird’s seat for a shot at the title.
“I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I can definitely see it being that,” he said about the winner getting a title shot. “Considering neither one of us has fought either of those guys, I’m sure it’s a fight a lot of people would like to see.”
Finally realizing his UFC dream, Shields probably understands better than anyone out there that with that dream now comes the reality of backing up his past performances, and translating that into success in the Octagon.
Many past competitors have come into the UFC with all the hype in the world, only to find it crashing down around them for one reason or another. Shields believes he’s faced similar pressure before, and knows how to handle it.
“It’s definitely a lot of pressure out there,” commented Shields. “I had a lot of pressure in the Henderson fight as well, having that being the last one on my contract, knowing Strikeforce wanted me to lose. That gave me a ton of pressure. I came through that, and I’ll try to do the same (in the UFC).”