The Interrogationis a semi-regular feature where The MMA Manifesto interrogates some of the world’s best MMA fighters. Next up is UFC newbie Jake Shields, who discusses his debut in the organization and future battles with Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva.
MMA Manifesto: Were you happy/satisfied with your UFC debut?
Jake Shields: Not really. I had a hard time with my weight, I haven’t fought at welterweight in over two years so I was pretty big when I got the offer to fight down at 170lbs. (Martin) Kampmann was as tough as I thought he would be and he made me pay for my mistakes in cutting weight. The good thing is I made 170lbs again so it won’t be as hard next time and I got the win.
JS: I thought I won the fight. During the fight, I thought I was winning but knew it was close.
JS: Well, like I said, it was the biggest cut of my career. I spent a lot of time on strength and conditioning and I was walking around over 200 lbs, normal for middleweights. As a welterweight I was usually about 185 lbs when I started camp. I began running a lot and lost 15 lbs in two weeks then pulled a back muscle. I got back to 100 percent and had a good camp. The chiropractor who got my back in shape told me the repetitive nature of running might throw it back out so wait until after the fight to start running again. I did some with diet but ended up doing most of the cut in saunas.
MM: Are you committed to staying at 170 lbs, even though you had difficulties with the cut? If so, why the desire to remain at welterweight?
JS: The UFC can use me at welterweight – all the top fighters in the weight class have already fought each other and GSP has already beat them all. I thought I would be coming in at middleweight, but now that I have made the cut it will be easier from now on. I was a welterweight for most of my career, then Strikeforce had bigger fights at middleweight so I went up. In the UFC there are big fights at both weights and I would like to fight in both weight classes, but for now I am focused on welterweight.
MM: When do you anticipate your next fight, for the title versus GSP or Koscheck, to take place.
JS: I hope it will be early spring.
JS: I think it’s a great match up. There are ways we mirror each other and there are differences, but I think the way we match up will make for a real war. I think I have an edge in jiu-jitsu.
MM: If you went to middleweight, how do you think a match between you and Anderson Silva would go down? How would you match up with him?
JS: Silva is another great fighter – he has been the best middleweight for the past few years. I think he is a good match up for me – he’s been taken down by several fighters that were not really top-level grapplers. Of course they didn’t do much from top. (Dan) Henderson worked him pretty good in the first round. You had (Chael) Sonnen who pounded him without even passing his guard. His striking is great, but I think I could put him on his back. I would like the opportunity to fight him some time.
MM: Some fans/critics get on your case for being a “boring” fighter. What are your thoughts on this? Are you at all concerned about putting on an exciting performance while in the cage, or are you only concerned with winning the match?
JS: Well it’s hard to defend this last fight. I didn’t put on the kind of fight I’m capable of. But I am an aggressive fighter, I finished my last eight opponents at welterweight, six in the first round. I went up 15 lbs to fight at middleweightin Strikeforce to get the big fights. I choked out Robbie Lawler in two minutes, but not fighting under the Unified Rules works against control fighters. If you look at the nine TKO’s and subs on my record right before and up through Robbie you will see that even my subs were mostly set up by elbows. I always want to be an action fighter and give the fans exciting fights, if you look at my career as a whole I think that is what you will see.