Fresh off a visit to Toronto I caught up with Jake Shields. In his Bloody Elbow Exclusive interview he talked about the long awaited matchup with St. Pierre, shared his plans derailing the super-fight the MMA world is calling and talked about his recent trip to Toronto to promote his title bout at UFC 129.
"I had to do some press and seminar stuff up there but overall the trip was great," Shields explained in regards to his Toronto visit. "They are really excited for the fight in Toronto. I had a lot of fans up there and I'm sure most of them are going to turn on me when I fight GSP but I still had a great reception."
During this trip a photo hit the internet of Shields wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey while holding up another of St. Pierre's hometown Montreal Canadians.Neither Shields or GSP have been big trash talkers in the past but Shields felt a subtle push was in order.
"I was kind of playing around and it's all in good fun of course. He is from Montreal and love the Toronto team so it was just playing around."
While Shields has just arrived in the UFC, a bout with St. Pierre has been on his wish list for sometime. Both fighters use a unique style of wrestling to control and dominate their opponents but Shields feels it will be his "American Jiu-Jitsu" that holds the key to unlocking the St. Pierre riddle.
"I think it definitely does," Shields answered when asked if AJJ will make the difference. "GSP is a phenomenal fighter that doesn't have a lot of holes but I think someone with my jiu-jitsu style and wrestling background... American Jiu-Jitsu is going to make sure I'm the guy that beats him. It's going to be a hell of a fight but I see myself catching him at some point and becoming the new champion."
Throughout his career Shields has earned championship gold under every banner he has ever competed under. With that being said, the UFC is the top of the mountain and being the champion in the biggest organization in MMA is the ultimate goal.
"The UFC belt is always something I've had my eye on," Shields stated. "All of these other titles meant a lot to me and they were great but the title I've always set out to accomplish is the UFC belt. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I plan on going out there, making the most of it and getting that belt."
When news broke that Shields would be signing with the UFC more than a few fighters took notice. The current welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has dominated the division for years and the majority of the current contenders are working their way back to rematches. After the signing was official, Dana White announced Shields would get the next title shot if successful against Kampmann, sending Shields and the rest of the top welterweights a message.
"It was nice going into the UFC that they did think I was a good fighter and wanted to push me because you never really know until you're there," Shields stated. "When I saw the way they were pushing the Kampmann fight and the winner earned the next title shot I knew it was something they wanted to build up. Getting the title shot is awesome and coming in there and getting it after just one fight in the UFC is great. At the same time it is something I certainly think is deserved because I came in with a 14 fight win streak before signing with the UFC and it's nice to know they are acknowledging that."
While Shields may be one of the newer kids on the block, he has been around the organization for years. In fact, while still holding the middleweight title for Strikeforce, Shields was one of Chuck Liddell's coaches on "The Ultimate Fighter". With that being said, being around the UFC and in the UFC can be two different things but for Shields the experience has gone even smoother than he imagined it would.
"A lot of things were exactly what I expected because I've had friends here and been around the UFC for years so I'm definitely no stranger to it," Shields replied. "I've known Dana for awhile and I've been good friends with Chuck for years so nothing surprised me except how professionally they are run and how smooth things go. Of all the shows I've ever fought in no one has ever been nearly as organized as the UFC."
With the interview coming to a close the conversation turned to recent talk of a purposed "superfight" between Georges St. Pierre and middleweight king Anderson Silva. Shields, who has been a middleweight champion throughout his career, has also shown interest in a fight with Silva and had a "superfight" of his own to promote.
"A Silva vs. Shields super fight sounds a lot better to me," Shields declared. "I plan on going in there and spoiling the GSP vs. Anderson matchup and stealing the fight from him."