clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jake Shields Not Sure About UFC, Return to 170

Whether he wins or loses against Dan Henderson on Saturday night, Jake Shields is going to have a couple of big questions about the future of his mixed martial arts career: Will he stay with Strikeforce or sign with the UFC? And will he stay at middleweight or move back down to welterweight?

Shields says he's not sure about the answer to either of those questions.

The Henderson bout is the final fight on his Strikeforce contract, and UFC President Dana White has said he'd love to sign Shields when he becomes a free agent. Shields isn't quite ready to think about that yet, though.

"I'm really happy with Strikeforce," Shields said. "Everywhere I read people say I'm going to UFC, but I just said I'm not sure where I'm going. The media seems to keep jumping and changing words I say and kind of pushing that I'm jumping away, which isn't the case. I haven't said for sure where I'm going. I've been very happy with Strikeforce. ... So it's not like I'm in any hurry to jump and run away."

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said that there's an option in Shields' current deal for one more fight, and that he's hoping to negotiate an extension with Shields down the road.

"Jake does have the ability to exercise his one other fight," Coker said. "We're going to wait to see what happens with this fight."

Shields is Strikeforce's middleweight champion, and if he beats Henderson he'd have to be considered one of the truly elite middleweights in all of MMA. But most people still view welterweight as Shields' best weight class. Asked if he feels like a full-fledged middleweight rather than just a welterweight who beefed up because he didn't have any good 170-pound opponents, Shields hedged.

"I don't know," Shields said. "I feel comfortable at this weight, that's all I know. ... I've bulked up. I'm still not a huge 185 pounder, but I feel a lot better. I've been working with strength trainers. I feel really strong and fast at this weight, it's the best I've felt at 185."

If Shields were to sign with the UFC, he'd likely return to welterweight with an eye on UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, in what would be the biggest fight of his career. For now, though, Shields says the Henderson fight is his biggest to date, and all he's thinking about.

"I take it one fight at a time," Shields said. "I'm just trying to get through this fight for now and look at my options. I feel like I could go back to 170 pretty easily. I walk around at 185, so I think I could make weight in two weeks if I had to. But I think I'll just take it one fight at a time. I'm just looking for the biggest fights."