by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Jake Shields was betting big going into his fight with Dan Henderson.
Instead of renegotiating his contract with Strikeforce prior to the bout, Shields believed in himself and the ability to beat the former two weight class champion, thus giving himself the power to control the market for whatever promotion secured his services next.
Guess what? It paid off big time… or rather, it will.
Following a five-round unanimous decision that saw Shields dominate Dan Henderson, he is in the proverbial catbird’s seat, and has several options for his fight future.
“I’m not going to jump to any conclusions. My manager, he’s still out in Tennessee, so he gets back and (we’ll) talk. I’m not trying to jump to any conclusions, but I’m a big fan of both,” Shields said about the UFC and Strikeforce, the leading suitors for his services.
One particular fan of Shields did call him on Monday to wish him well on the big victory.
“Dana White called to congratulate me this morning, that was really nice of him,” said Shields when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio.
Following the win, Shields has a window of exclusivity to negotiate with Strikeforce that lasts upwards of 60 days, and then he’s able to sign with whomever he wants. Shields admits that he’s not ruling out going back to Strikeforce, but also knows there are several big challenges that await him in the UFC.
“I’m certainly not ruling that out. We’re definitely going to talk to them,” Shields said about Strikeforce. “I really do want to fight guys like Anderson (Silva) and GSP as well.”
Now that he’s put on extra weight and muscle to fight at 185 pounds, Shields is willing to fight at either weight class if the UFC comes calling, though he says a fight with Georges St-Pierre still sits at the top of the list of fights he’d love to have.
“That’s a fight I’ve wanted for a while. So definitely something we’ll be figuring out in the next few weeks probably,” Shields commented.
Of course money is going to come into play when negotiating any new contract, but Shields admits that won’t be the biggest factor in his decision. He says that for him the challenge is what gives him the charge to fight, not the size of the paycheck.
“To me the challenges come before money. Obviously I want to make money. Everyone wants to make money. I’ve finally started getting some money in my life, but I’ve been doing this sport for like 11 years and I certainly didn’t get in it to make money. I think the most you could possibly make when I got in it was like 10 to 12 thousand (dollars) a fight, maybe like 15/20 for the top, top guys. So I wasn’t looking at this like I’m going to get rich,” he said.
The risk that Shields took paid off, and now he’s the most coveted free agent since Fedor Emelianenko, and he will be the one to decide what’s next.
“I took the risk of this fight, going in there and not re-signing. I had faith in myself, and now I think it puts me in a good situation,” said Shields.
“Definitely enjoying life right now.”