Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields is currently resting on the eve of his UFC debut, which will come tomorrow evening at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Shields recently spoke with MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani about making the transition from Strikeforce to the UFC and he said that, even though he and the powers-that-be at Strikeforce parted ways on less than peaceful grounds, he believes that his former employers are wishing him well this weekend.
“I think it’s some of both,” Shields said when asked if he thought his former Strikeforce employers would be pulling for him this weekend. “I think most of the guys there are rooting for me, there’s mostly good people. I’d say the majority of them are. There could be a few guys there rooting against me but I think overall they’re mostly good people. We had a few differences in the end and I bet most of them would like to see me succeed. It also makes Strikeforce look good.”
Shields left Strikeforce after defending his middleweight belt against recent UFC-deserter Dan Henderson in April of this year. It was widely expected that Shields would join the UFC roster, but there were several months of limbo following Shields’ successful title defense. The Cesar Gracie fighter and current UFC 121 co-headliner told Helwani that regardless of any posturing from either side, the decision had already been made and he was always planning on signing with the UFC.
“Yeah, in my mind I was gone. I had already decided it was my turn to be in the UFC. Obviously I wanted to win but even if I’d have lost I would have still tried coming over here and dropping down to the ’70-pound division. I’ve had a long career but I feel like it’s my time to be here in the UFC.”