UFC 129: Jake Shields is Happy to Add GSP to List of Fighters He Wasn’t Supposed to Beat

April 27, 2011
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Jake Shields has heard it all before.

When he was in EliteXC, people wondered if he could hang with fighters like Renato “Charuto” Verissimo, Mike Pyle, and Nick Thompson. Shields then finished all three in the first round.

After submitting British striker Paul Daley, Shields decided to move up to middleweight where he was supposed to get thoroughly thrashed by Robbie Lawler, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, and Dan Henderson. Shields went on to dominate all three fights.

So once again, on the precipice of his fight at UFC 129 against Georges St-Pierre, Shields is hearing just about everyone tell him that he’s the underdog, that he can’t stand with the UFC’s top welterweight, and this might even be considered a mismatch.

Fortunately for Jake Shields, he has a real tendency for proving people wrong.

“I don’t really let it bother me too much,” Shields told MMAWeekly Radio about his underdog status in the fight. “I don’t really pay attention to the media and stuff. I don’t even really know that I’m an underdog until someone tells me. I just do my part and train and go out there and fight, and I know I’m feeling ready. I always feel like I can win; you can’t really listen to the naysayers.”

Shields has time and time again upped his training and level of commitment to a fight, and this one is no different. In his head, Shields has already fought St-Pierre hundreds of times, and it’s a fight he’s had his eye on for years.

Even when he was with Strikeforce, when realistically just about everyone knew due to cross promotional politics, Shields wouldn’t get a shot at GSP, he still asked for the fight. Why? To make sure that everyone knew he wanted to fight the best in the world, and he was up to the task of proving it.

“This has been the fight I’ve been wanting for three or four years. I’m so excited it’s finally here. It’s not going to be an easy fight, but I’m ready,” Shields said.

Heading into the fight, St-Pierre has been touted as possibly the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. He’s far and away ranked as the top welterweight, and he’s literally had his way with every opponent he’s faced over the last few years.

St-Pierre is a phenomenal fighter, and Shields will be the first to admit that. But what Shields is happy to prove come Saturday night in Toronto is that he’s something that St-Pierre has never seen before.

“I think I’m completely different than what he’s used to. He’s a great fighter, too; I think this is a great fight for both of us. I’ve fought quite a bit of top competition just like he has,” said Shields.

“He’s faced good grapplers, B.J. Penn and Matt Serra, and good wrestlers with (Josh) Koscheck and (Jon) Fitch, but they’re different. Penn and Serra are a lot smaller and they have a completely different style than me. The other guys are more pure wrestlers. My style, I mix the wrestling and the jiu-jitsu. If he takes me down, I’m not just going to sit in my guard and sit in a closed guard. I have a completely different game than these guys.”

Possibly the harshest criticism that Shields has faced on the eve of his showdown with St-Pierre is what seems to be a lacking stand-up attack. Shields has never been accused of having tremendous knockout power or a striking attack that opponents fear.

Meanwhile, diversity is the key to St-Pierre’s game. He’s developed into one of the best wrestlers in the sport, while becoming a strong striker with one of the most devastating jabs in the game.

But just because Shields doesn’t go out and swing for the fences with his opponents doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a few tricks up his sleeve. Like any good magician, the audience doesn’t always need to know where the final rabbit in the hat will come from.

“I feel comfortable on my feet, and I know I’ve been criticized a lot. Other than the Dan Henderson fight, I haven’t been hit too much,” said Shields. “I’ve more gone in there and taken guys down and haven’t tried to use my striking.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand that aspect, that I’m going out there with the purpose of getting the fight to the ground and take him out. I don’t take too many shots. I think GSP’s a great striker, but I’m ready to deal with him if need be.”

It’s that part of his game where Shields has excelled, possibly to the top spot in the sport. Few fighters in the world have the wrestling and jiu-jitsu hybrid skills that Shields has put together over the years.

His ability to pass an opponent’s guard really does look effortless, and his offensive game is now also opened up by being able to throw elbows, giving him yet another weapon. Shields is confident in what he’s going to be able to do at UFC 129, and simply put, it’s up to Georges St-Pierre to try and stop him.

“I play to my strengths. I’m not out there looking for the knockout,” Shields said. “I can stand and bang, but then I’m looking at maybe I’ll win, maybe I’ll lose. Then why do I want to put myself in a situation where I know I might lose when I can go out there and tap a guy out?”

Shields will try to add St-Pierre’s name to the list of fighters he wasn’t supposed to beat when the two square off in Toronto on Saturday night.

  • Cptmats

    GSP is gonna rape this fag !

  • mma24069

    yeah i feel like jake sheilds has some good ground game no doubt and has the tools to catch gsp. but i just dont think gsp is gonna make any mistake.. hopefully its not boring but i guessing gsp beats the shit out of him. hopefully he will finish

  • BigGuy

    I can’t see this being the huge challenge for GSP that everyone is making it out to be. I really do see this as a whole lot of hype on everyone’s part. I see GSP dominating this fight on his feet, and even on the ground. Shields is good, but I honestly don’t think he can come close to beating GSP.

  • @slmma

    I think Shields is going to win:
    He is heavyer than GSP HE is an a longer winning streak. I’m not taking anything away from GSP but his winning streak is wack he fought fighters twice fighters he already beat. Shields 3RD submission for the win.

    • Cptmats

      George walks around at about 195-200 lbs.
      After 11 weeks of a 12 week camp, 1 week out of UFC 129, Georges weight is still at 187.5 lbs. How on earth do you think jake is heavier ? I think with the big cut GSP would be stronger faster and more explosive at 185lbs. than we’ve seen him.

      • @slmma

        Haha wow if he walked around that big why would he need time to gain weight to fight Silva? And he fights in 170.

        • MrAdidas

          @slmma: UGHHH b/c IDIOT 195-200lbs still isnt big enough to fight @ MW while MOST people @ MW INCLUDING Silva walk around 220-230lbs, dude do some research b4 asking stupid ass questions!!!
          Do you think 195lbs is “HEAVY” for MW?!? Thiago Alves, Rumble Jhonson, Nate Marquardt (now) all walk around well over 220lbs & they fight @ WW, & you think 195-200lbs is “big/heavy” for MW?!? BAHAHAHA – WOW, have I answered your question or do you want me to continue to give you reasons why ur uneducated when it comes to knowing why 195-200lbs is still not even close to being big enough to fight @ MW, especially when your only 5’10”, not to mention he needs time to adjust to the weight gain & get a feel of how he moves & if he will gain or lose speed, strength, flexability, explosiveness etc. Do you know anything about MMA and/or weight gain etc?!? B/C it sure doesnt seem like it!!!

    • MrAdidas

      @slmma: (You AGAIN) WOW dude, your reasoning for why you think Shields is going to win is stupid & uneducated & STUPID – AGAIN, what a surprise. So your telling me that someones win streak is an advantage in a fight?!? WTF? please tell me how that does anything for Shields when hes walks in the Octagon?!? If thats the case then why did Fedor lose his last 2 fights? Or an even better question is….. Why has Fedor EVER lost? b/c his winning streak was longer than anyone else hes ever fought, yet he lost & lost to two guys he was suppose to own. Good point (wink wink). Also, your saying GSP’s winning streak is “whack”?!? Why b/c he fought the same people twice? Okay well give one name that Shields has fought whos a better figther than BJ Penn?!? (I hate BJ, but hes one of the best natural fighters in MMA – he just doesnt train enough/nearly as much as everyone else). GSP not only made BJ quit (only man to make BJ quit), but he beat him TWICE (the 1st & only man to have ever done that @ WW & @ any weight division until Edgar beat BJ twice in 2010). I’d rather fight top WW’s 2 or 3 times & dominate them each & every time, than to fight different names/”BUMS” who arent even ranked in the top 10 or top 15 in the world, wow another great point. You just made my point & everyone else’s point in regards to Jake Shields has fought decent MW’s but a couple decent WW’s, while GSP has fought nothing but top 10 ranked WW’s and/or present/former CHAMPS. Hmmm, would I rather fight diff no names who arent ranked in the top 10 & beat them, or fight the best WW’s in the world who are ALL ranked in the top 10 & beat/EMBARESS them not once but twice?!? You Douche BAG!!!

      P.S Shields has great BJJ, yet he coudlnt finish Hendo who he had mounted for 4 rounds & he did NO damage to Hendo’s face from the mounted position for 20 mins, WOW thats impressive. Shields couldnt finish Kampmann who he had mounted several times & had his back a few times as well, yet GSP has much better BJJ defence than Hendo & Kampmann combined, so how do you figure hes going to submit GSP?!? (BTW the Kampmann VS Shields fight….. Shields lost that fight – but the judges/UFC made sure Shields won b/c the UFC had him hyped up so much they coulndt afford him to lose to Kampmann & b/c they brought him in to fight GSP $$$$$$)

      P.S you should stop commenting

    • MrAdidas

      Jmoney: Where in the hell do you get your info dude?!? Watch the Prime Time (I think thats where I seen it) but one of his trainers mentioned GSP was @ 187-185lbs a week & a half ago. Do you honestly think he hasnt been cutting weight over the last 3 month of his training?!? Where do you guys come from?!? Better yet, where do you get your made up facts?!? Before GSP used to be 185-190lbs MAX, but now hes gaining weight & size to keep up with the naturaly bigger WW’s like Koscheck, Hardy, Fitch, Alves, & Rumble Johnson (who he ahsnt fought) & I guess to slowly build up weight/size so that he can fight @ MW later on down the road!!!

  • adi3p

    When was Mayhem the favorite? I also thought he loast the decision to Kampman.

  • Jmoney

    GSP has stated time after time that he doesnt get up in weight that much.. 10-15 lbs weight cut max.. where do you get your info?

    shields by decision or 2nd 3rd round submission!