by Mick Hammond
Jake Shields is without doubt one of the most underrated fighters in MMA. A former Shooto Champion at 167.5lbs, Shields has defeated some of the toughest fighters around including Jeremy Jackson, Hayoto “Mach” Sakurai, Milton Vieira, and Akira Kikuchi. And if that wasn’t enough, earlier this year he defeated TUF 1 Champion Diego Sanchez at Abu Dhabi 2005.
Yet Shields, a member of the Cesar Gracie Fight Team, still remains virtually unknown by the majority of the new generation of MMA fans. Jake was hoping to change that this year at the upcoming Rumble on the Rock 175lb tournament. But when he spoke to MMA Weekly recently, Shields revealed the tournament is going to be on hold until next year, a fact that he is not happy about.
“The tournament keeps moving back,” said Shields. “I just found out today that they moved it to January 20th. First it was November, then December, and now January. I’m kind of frustrated about this, I want to fight.”
Jake continued, “I was really excited about being in the tournament but I’m getting tired of them pushing it back. I’ve been training hard for it and am in great shape. There’s a bunch of those guys I wanted a piece of, Frank Trigg, Dennis Hallman, and Charuto Verissimo. You know I really want a piece of Trigg, we’ve had a few words in the past and I think he runs his mouth too much.”
Now that the tournament is delayed, Shields will continue to train, help his teammates, and look for other opportunities before the end of the year. “I’m not going to wait for the tournament, I want to take something and I told Cesar today to start calling around. I’ve been beating the crap out of people in training and I’m two weeks away from being in fighting shape, so if something came up that is a good offer, I will take it,” explained Jake.
Along with getting himself ready to fight, Shields plans to help teammate Nick Diaz prepare for his upcoming bout with Diego Sanchez on the season finale of TUF 2 in November. According to Shields, his match with Sanchez at Abu Dhabi opened his eyes to some of Diego’s weaknesses and he’ll pass along those insights for Nick to exploit.
“I’ll be working with Nick next week. I saw holes in Diego’s game that I know Nick can take advantage of. Diego’s a tough guy, but we’re working on a good strategy and Nick should be able to take the match. Diego doesn’t have the hands to stand with Nick. He thinks he does, he’s very cocky, but Nick will change that,” proclaimed Shields.
After Diaz’s fight, Shields will again focus on his career, and as he says, he’s ready to step up and make his mark once and for all against the best competition around.
“I was hoping to get in some good fights this year. I was offered to fight (Hayoto) Sakurai (earlier in the year) but he wouldn’t fight me. I’m ready to fight anyone now. I don’t know if I’ll go back to Shooto, making the cut to 167.5lbs has been tough on me. I’ve been lifting more and getting bigger so even the cut to 170 would be a hard cut. That’s why the tournament was perfect for me at 175lbs. Plus I heard the winner of the tournament was going to fight BJ Penn, I think that would be a great fight. If that didn’t happen I was maybe going to call out Matt Hughes and see what happened.”