Jake Shields (23-4-1) is considered to be one of the top welterweights in the world, however that may end soon as the former EliteXC Welterweight Champion may be moving up to middleweight. As we reported last month, Strikeforce is expected to introduce an interim middleweight championship as the current champion, Cung Le, is busy with his movie career, and Shields is expected to be in the title mix. Shields recently spoke with Rod Moyer of FightLine.com on a variety of topics including Cung Le, his friendship with Nick Diaz, his rivalry with Frank Shamrock and much more.
FightLine.com: How do you feel coming off of your victory over Robbie Lawler [at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields last June]. That was a very impressive technical submission down in St. Louis. How do you feel coming off of that fight?
Jake Shields: It went well. It went as planned. I took no damage, I mean, he landed like one or two body shots but I was back training the Monday after the fight.
FightLine.com: How would you characterize your time with Elite XC?
Shields: It was good and bad. Definitely some good things came out of it. Some exposure, they treated me good. It was also kind of a mess, with different people pushing the thing in different directions. But overall, it wasn’t a bad experience.
FightLine.com: You haven’t lost a fight since 2004, having won 12 fights in a row. I know that Cung Lee is on hiatus and there are rumors about creating an interim belt. What are your views on that, and do you expect to fight for that belt?
Shields: My view is that’s its retarded. First off, I think Cung Lee should fight me or be stripped. It should be as simple of that, but he doesn’t want to fight me. So I’ll fight whoever, you know, Matt Lindland, [Frank] Shamrock, Vitor Belfor. I’m willing to fight whoever they throw at me. I love to fight and I’ll fight anyone.
FightLine.com: You said Cung Le won’t fight you, are you implying that he’s scared of you?
Shields: He’s my friend, I don’t want to say anything bad, but I don’t think Cung Le will fight me.
FightLine.com: What are your future plans? Do you plan on staying in Strikeforce or will we see Jake Shields in the UFC?
Shields: It’s quite possible, but right now, I’m with Strikeforce. I’ve got two fights left, and they treat me really good, so I’m just going to finish up my contract and figure it out from there.
I try to just look at it one fight at a time. Long term, I’d love to be considered at some point the best pound for pound fighter out there. It’s quite a tough goal, but that’s why we fight to be the best. That’s why we train hard every day, to get better and better.
FightLine.com: It’s been reported that you called out Frank Shamrock in a hotel recently.
Shields: Yeah, the guys disrespectful to me, he’s talkin’ crap like I’m a no-one. I beat the crap out of him, and he’s still disrespectful to me. I told him I’d kick his ass, and he got scared and walked off. He knows I’ll beat him down! He just likes to run his mouth. I gave him an offer to fight me and he clearly wants nothing to do with it. He likes to talk and then run away from me, because he knows it would be his third loss in a row, and that would obviously put an end to his career.
FightLine.com: So you are saying that he was offered a fight with you and turned it down?
Shields: As far as I know, but Strikeforce made it seem like he wanted nothing to do with me. That’s the impression I’ve been getting.
FightLine.com: I recently actually talked with Frank Shamrock, and he said that one of the things you don’t understand is that this sport is about really getting your name out there, getting your face out there, and you don’t understand the marketing aspect of this sport, in terms of creating a lot of visibility, and you don’t have a clue about that. What would your response to that be?
Shields: Um, you know, I’m just going to keep winning. That’s why my name’s blowing up and his is folding. We’ll see next year who the biggest star is. He’s the past and I’m the future.
FightLine.com: Now there’s also a rumor out there that Matt Lindland may be the next fight for you, with Strikeforce or Affliction. What can you tell us about that?
Shields: My managers deal with all of that. I told them I would fight anyone, there is nothing for sure yet, we’re still talking and looking for an opponent. If he called me right now and told me to fight Lindland, I’d have no problem doing that.
FightLine.com: Would you like to fight Nick Diaz? I know that he’s your training partner . . .
Shields: [Cutting us off] No.
FightLine.com: So if you were offered Nick Diaz, you would turn it down?
Shields: Yeah, that’s the only fight I’d turn down. I don’t want nothing to do with fighting him. We’re too good of friends. We’ve been training together for over a year. Been to Japan together like five times. We help each other for every fight. I don’t want nothing to do with fighting him.
FightLine.com: So if Nick was the champion and you were offered a shot at his belt, you would turn it down?
Shields: I would just drop down to 170, that’s my good weight anyway. We’re both 170′ers, really, and just hopping around different weights.
FightLine.com: In terms of the UFC, you’ve fought all over the world, you got started in 1999 and have a very impressive record of 23-4-1. You’re on such a roll right now and said that Strikeforce is treating you well. To prove that you are the best, do you feel like you would have to go to the UFC at some point?
Shields: Right now the UFC is the most prominent organization, but Strikeforce is a strong second and constantly growing. That’s why I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. The way they’re [UFC] paying fighters are changing. That’s why I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. Just taking it one fight at a time, and see what happens.
You can listen to the full audio of the interview below: