The year 2011 was not kind to Jake Shields.
The 33-year-old saw a six-year, fifteen-fight streak ended when he challenged Georges St-Pierre for the title and lost the decision. His father/manager, Jack Shields, then passed away shortly before his comeback fight against Jake Ellenberger, which he would go on to lose via first-round KO from knees and punches.
Demonstrating his proven champion’s heart once again, Shields has used that downturn as motivation, promising to make his next fight — against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 144 in Japan — one of his best.
“I think I’m more motivated,” said Shields. “Going on a six-year winning streak, and then having back-to-back losses, losing my father — it was a tough year for me in 2011. I want to change that, get that behind me, and start out fresh this year, starting with Akiyama; put on a great performance, and get back into title contention.
“Right now I’m in a great headspace; I feel great,” he continued. “As far as training goes, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. I just can’t wait to get out there and fight. If I feel the way I do (now) in the fight, I have no doubt that I’ll go out there, perform well, and bring home the victory.”
UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson takes place on February 25 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.