was the reig
ning Strikeforce middleweight champion and before that the reigning EliteXC welterweight champion, and so when he signed with the UFC, there was some question of which weight class he would pick.
Shields chose welterweight, beat Martin Kampmann
by split decision in his first UFC fight, and will get the next crack at UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre
if St. Pierre beats Josh Koscheck
But just because Shields won his first fight doesn't necessarily mean that welterweight was the right choice. And one UFC middleweight, Nate Marquardt
, believes that Shields' style of using his grappling to control his opponents on the ground would have been much more successful if he didn't have to cut down to 170 pounds.
"At middleweight we've seen guys like Demian Maia
and Rousimar Palhares
do well, and I think Jake could be like them," Marquardt said in a chat with MMAFighting.com readers
. "And then at middleweight he could also do well because the weight cut wouldn't affect his performance."
But at welterweight? Marquardt didn't think much of Shields' UFC debut.
"It's hard to say," Marquardt said. "I think he definitely would be good at middleweight but I thought he looked bad at 170. Part of it was the weight cut, but part of it is his style as well, and I think a lot of people underestimate Kampmann -- he's a tough, well-rounded fighter. I don't think he's the best but he's good at everything. Shields is kind of the opposite -- not good at some things but really good or the best at other things. I think putting Shields against a well-rounded opponent was bad for him against Kampmann and worse against Georges."
And Marquardt offered this prediction for the potential Shields-St. Pierre welterweight title fight in 2011: "I think Georges is going to destroy him."