BARUERI, Brazil -- Jake Shields became the second non-Brazilian to win a UFC main event in Brazil in the Zuffa era as he left the Octagon with a split decision win over Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri, Brazil.
Shields outgrappled Maia to earn the victory, and he wants a big fight next in the UFC.
"I fought a top contender now," Shields told MMAFighting.com after the fight. "Demian Maia was looking at a title shot. I would love GSP first off, but maybe Carlos Condit, who I already beat, or Robbie Lawler. I’m ready to fight whoever."
Shields already defeated Condit back in 2006. With the former WEC champion scheduled to compete against Matt Brown at UFC on FOX 9, Shields eyes the winner of that bout as a potential opponent for his return.
"I would be down for that one," he said.
Two judges scored the contest 48-47 in favor of Shields against Maia, but he wasn’t convinced the judges would give him the win against a Brazilian in Brazil.
"It was a lot closer than I wanted," he said. "When I got here I felt in his vibe that Demian Maia was ready for a war so I was expecting a really tough fight. I was hoping to make it less close but I thought I took the win but being here in Brazil I was a little nervous, of course.
"I wasn’t positive (that they would give me the win)," he continued. "I felt I did enough but you never want a close fight like that, especially here in Brazil."
Shields believes he won four of the five rounds, and that includes the opening one -- even with Maia taking his back in the first minutes.
"He came right away, trying to clinch and took me down, so it was definitely not a good way to start," Shields said. "I got a little fatigued, but I luckily was able to get back up, reversal and take over. I probably won the first round, but it was one of those close rounds that I really don’t know. I need to go back and watch the fight to see what I did right and what I did wrong."