With the recent announcement by UFC president Dana White that Jake Shields would likely get the next shot at the welterweight title with a win at UFC 121, the pressure has turned up yet another notch on the former Strikeforce middleweight champion as his Octagon debut approaches.
Shields has never been shy at calling for a fight with UFC champion Georges St-Pierre, or whoever sat at the top of the division. The decision by White and the UFC was just the final word, but something Shields was hoping for all along.
Promises of title shots only go so far though, because according to Shields he still has a tough road ahead before he can think about St-Pierre or Josh Koscheck.
“I want GSP or the title if it’s Koscheck. I would love a title shot. As far as when I get it, that’s not up to me, but I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get that title shot,” Shields told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
“Of course I’d love it right away if they offer it, but ultimately I’m looking at Kampmann. If I go out there and do a great job with Kampmann, I’m more likely to get it sooner.”
Prior to UFC 117, the UFC had said that the winner of the fight between Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves would likely get the next title shot, but that talk has slowly died down since then and Shields has emerged as the top contender.
Just like the talk of Fitch getting a crack at the belt, Shields understands that ultimately the UFC makes the decision, and his performance may be the driving factor in what happens.
“I think I need to go out there and dominate,” Shields commented. “I think if I go out there and dominate and look good, people are going to want to see me fight for the title. I think it’s really up to me. It’s really up to how I perform.
“I’m not the one making the decisions, but I think that’s how it’s going to go. I think if I go out there and look amazing, then I’ll get a title shot. If I don’t, I won’t.”
Shields is okay with that scenario because he has no ideas in his head outside of dominating Martin Kampmann in their co-main event fight at UFC 121.
As far as other potential fighters vying for the shot at the title, he knows that Jon Fitch is a worthy competitor, but someone who has already had a shot at St-Pierre, and now it’s time for Shields to get his.
“Everyone else has kind of fought him, so if (GSP) wins it kind of makes sense for some new blood. I like (Jon) Fitch, but I think people want to see someone who hasn’t fought him yet,” Shields stated.
The key to any of this happening is Shields winning on Saturday night against Martin Kampmann. Simply said, overlooking Kampmann would be a huge mistake, and not something Shields plans on doing.
“If I go out there and think Martin’s an easy fight, I’m an idiot,” Shields said. “Martin, he’s a legitimate opponent, and I’m ready for whatever he brings.”