Though he has mostly flown under the mainstream radar and did little to grab fans’ attention with his UFC debut, Jake Shields is one of the most accomplished fighters in the game and will likely provide UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre with one of his stiffest tests to date when they meet at the end of this month for UFC 129.
Shields spoke with iBN Sports about the match up, meeting St. Pierre in his backyard and adjusting to the weight cut at 170lbs.
“Man, I couldn’t be more excited,” Shields said of the fight with “Rush.” “Like I’ve said, this is a fight that I’ve been going after for years. I’ve wanted to be the UFC welterweight champion since I started this sport. Now, it’s finally right in front of me so I’m just ready to get out there, go out there and fight.”
UFC 129 takes place at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the 30th of this month and, considering that St. Pierre is Canada’s most prominent and successful mixed martial artist, Shields is sure to be met with nothing but boos and jeers from the crowd. The California native understands that, is prepared for it and doesn’t plan on letting it rattle him too badly.
“Nah, not really,” Shields said when asked if he were concerned with the crowd’s reception. “Of course that’s a small factor, but you can’t let that kind of stuff get to you. When it comes down to it, it’s just going to be me and Georges in the cage, no one else — well, the ref — but no one that can help him. Yeah, the crowd’s gonna be booing me and cheering him but it is what it is, it’s something you go out there and deal with.”
When Shields debuted in the UFC, he had recently vacated his position as Strikeforce middleweight champion and endured a torturous weight cut to make his UFC debut at welterweight against Martin Kampmann. Shields pulled it off and gritted out a win, but it was far from a pretty performance and he vows not to make the same mistake twice.
“Oh yeah, I dropped a lot of weight fast coming off of 85s, I miscalculated things,” he said. “It was all a mess up on my part, all stupidity. I made the mistake once, but definitely not gonna do it again. My weight’s where it needs to be, I’m like 184 right now so it should be a nice, easy cut coming in.”
UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields goes down on April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and will feature bouts between UFC featherweight champ José Aldo and Mark Hominick as well as former light heavyweight champions Randy Couture and Lyoto Machida.