Though he is rightly being admired for going through with his UFC Fight Night 25 bout against Jake Ellenberger despite the fact that his father — who also happened to be his manager and perhaps most ardent supporter — very recently passed away, some are questioning how well he’s retained his focus during training camp as a result of his loss.
Shields recently told Thomas Gerbasi through the UFC that it was an easy decision to make to stay on the card: it’s what his father would have wanted. In regards to the impact it’s had on his training, Shields explained that his necessary focus in the gym never really suffered, it proved to be a therapeutic part of his grieving process.
“I definitely think it helps a lot because, of course, I have those moments where it hits me,” said Shields. “There have been times when I went to go call him about something, and I realize that he’s not there to call, and it hurts. But there’s so much going on with the fight that I have to stay focused. And when you’re sparring, you have to have your head together. You can’t go drifting off. So I’m able to put my head in the right spot every day, and it keeps me feeling better.”
Between his personal loss and the defeat he recently suffered to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Shields is ready to come out and be heard when he takes on Jake Ellenberger this weekend.
“I want to make a huge statement and I want to blow this kid out of the water,” he said. “I want to show that I can beat him on the feet, on the ground, anywhere. I want to go out there hungry and put him away. I don’t want the fight to go the distance.”
Shields and Ellenberger will square off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 25 this Saturday night at the Ernest N. Morial Center in New Orleans. Check FightLine.com on the night for our live coverage of the event.