, who hand-picked Jake Shields
to be an assistant coach on Team Liddell for this season's The Ultimate Fighter 11
, wants to see the Strikeforce middleweight champion make the long-awaited jump to the UFC.
"I hope he comes over to the UFC, it'd be great" Liddell said Monday on a TUF 11
conference call. "He's got a fight coming up soon at 185. He moved up to 185 ... He really needs to come back to his weight class (at 170), come back to the UFC and make a run at it there."
Liddell and Shields have ties from almost eleven years ago. Before Shields joined Cesar Gracie in 2001, Shields turned to Liddell's SLO Kickboxing Academy two years prior for his start in MMA.
Shields, who went on to establish a powerful jiu-jitsu game, which he dubs "American Jiu-Jitsu," reversed roles with Liddell recently, passing along technical details to the UFC Hall of Famer while on the show.
"Jake's one of the guys I used to train, actually," Liddell said. "He's come a long way with his stuff. He's done some interesting stuff -- he's got some interesting fine points with his front chokes, and things like that. I grabbed a couple of things (from him)."
As Shields approaches his April 17 fight against Dan Henderson with only one fight left on his Strikeforce contract, Shields appears closer and closer to joining the UFC.
Shields has long talked about facing the best opponents and UFC president Dana White as of late has openly told reporters that he would be interested in adding Shields to the promotion's welterweight roster.
Count one more UFC icon in as a supporter of Shields to the Octagon.