After just going five rounds and 25 minutes with one of the best fighters in the world in Georges St-Pierre, Jake Shields was expecting to take on another well-known and highly-rated member of the UFC’s welterweight division his next time out.
Instead of meeting a B.J. Penn or Jon Fitch, though, Shields (26-5-1) will get a fighter looking to stake his claim in the rankings in Jake Ellenberger (25-5).
The Shields-Ellenberger match up highlights the UFC Fight Night 25 card from New Orleans, Louisiana on September 17.
“I fight whoever they tell me, but when they asked me (to fight) Ellenberger, my first reaction was I want to fight someone like B.J. or Fitch,” Shields said on MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition. But they wanted me to fight Ellenberger and it was a main event. I’m willing to fight whoever they want. I’m not one to say no, especially if it’s a main event. So I said, ‘sure, I’ll do it.’ But I was hoping to fight Fitch on the San Jose card.”
Shields and Ellenberger have traded a few barbs through social media and during interviews, but, for the most part, the two seem to have respect for each other.
“He looks like a tough wrestler with pretty good boxing,” Shields said of Ellenberger. “So, he’s just a basic tough guy, you know. Definitely not taking him lightly. He’s got a lot of power, so he’s got good knockout power, but I think he’s lacking in his jiu-jitsu, my strength.”
Of the 26 wins Shields has earned during his career, 10 have come by submission. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, training with Cesar Gracie.
Ellenberger is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a former NCAA Div. II national champion while wrestling at Nebraska-Omaha. He has won his last four fights, including three by TKO and knockout, and eight of his last nine overall.
While Shields still has his focus on claiming UFC gold at welterweight, there is one mega-fight that interests him in the form of Anderson Silva, the current middleweight champion.
“I’ve always wanted to fight Anderson Silva, as well,” Shields said. “I know he’s getting close to the end of his career, so if that’s going to happen, it’d probably have to happen fairly soon.
“Stylistically, I think Anderson is a great fight for me. Some of these wrestlers have done really good against him, but the problem is he’s fighting these wrestlers like Chael (Sonnen), but then they’re not very good at jiu-jitsu, as well. They’re just more pure wrestlers.”
For now, tough, Shields will prepare for Ellenberger and enjoy the spotlight on himself once again.
“Just being in a main event is a big thing. If I were to sit there to complain about that, I’d be an idiot.”