UFC releases former welterweight title challenger Jake Shields

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Following a lopsided loss to Hector Lombard, Jake Shields has been sent packing by the UFC.

Jake Shields' UFC career has come to an end.

The former welterweight title challenger and ex-Strikeforce middleweight champion was released from the UFC, as first reported by MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani. Shields' manager, Alchemist Management's Lex McMahon, released the following statement regarding Shields' release:

"Jake Shields has been released by the UFC. Jake appreciates the opportunities provided by the UFC and thanks Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita. Jake is an elite athlete who is one of the best welterweight fighters in the world with a long history of winning at a championship level.

"Jake and our team are already exploring options. I'm confident that Jake will have a new promotion to call home very soon. Jake thanks his fans for their support and looks forward to competing for them again soon."

Shields (29-7-1, 1 NC) lost a unanimous decision to Hector Lombard at UFC 171, snapping a 4 fight unbeaten run and dropping him to #11 in the UFC's official welterweight rankings. He'll obviously be removed from the rankings system ASAP and everyone else below him will be bumped up one spot.

The 35-year-old's UFC career began in 2010, right on the heels of his Strikeforce title victory over Dan Henderson. A split decision win over Martin Kampmann granted him a title shot against Georges St-Pierre, which ended in a decision defeat and an end to his 15 fight winning streak. A shock TKO loss to Jake Ellenberger ensued before he got back on the winning track vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama. A one-off at middleweight saw him defeat Ed Herman, only for the result to be flipped to a "No Contest" after he failed his drug test. Shields returned to welterweight and scored tight wins over Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia before the Lombard defeat.

So the question now becomes "Where does Jake Shields go from here?". Personally, and this is a bit "out there", I hope ONE FC signs him so that Ben Askren has a legitimate opponent to face. Otherwise it'll boil down to the usual interest of Bellator and World Series of Fighting.

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