UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre is in for what some believe will be his most difficult title defense yet, as he is taking on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields at UFC 129 towards the end of next month.
Shields is currently riding a fifteen-fight winning streak, with his last loss coming against Akira Kikuchi in 2004. Training under Cesar Gracie with the likes of the Diaz brothers and Gilbert Melendez, Shields has proven himself to be one of the best welterweight fighters in the world but he is relatively unknown to the layfan and is therefore being highly underrated by many.
One man that’s familiar with both Shields’ and St. Pierre’s respective bodies of work is former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes, though he isn’t picking Shields to win either.
“I think that’s gonna be a pretty easy fight,” Hughes told MMAFightCorner.com. “I really do. I think GSP’s going to be able to do whatever he wants. Jake’s not going to be able to get on top, so I just don’t see him being effective really anywhere. I definitely don’t think he’s going to be able to take him down, and if Shields is on his back I just don’t see him being effective. I have to really wonder why he got a title shot in the first place… but, I’ll tell you why he got a title shot is there’s no one else.”
Shields and St. Pierre will square off this April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Hughes last appeared in action at UFC 123 in November against BJ Penn and was knocked out early in the first round; there are persistent rumors circulating that Hughes may be retiring from MMA competition at this point.