Strikeforce superstar Jake Shields will lock horns with DREAM middleweight Jason “Mayhem” Miller at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers in Chicago on Nov. 7 on CBS. Shields recently took time out of his busy training schedule to talk about the upcoming matchup, the demise of EliteXC, and the possibility of a move to the UFC.
The upcoming bout with Miller will be for the recently vacated Strikeforce middleweight title, which former champion Cung Le left behind so he could focus on a budding acting career.
Shields, best known for his stellar jiu jitsu – which he dubs “American Jiu Jitsu” – will seek to “fight my usual fight, with just a few tweaks,” Shields told me during the interview.
AJJ is a more aggressive, wrestling-based jiu jitsu that brings better action in MMA fights, as fights with traditional BJJ practitioners can sometimes be snooze fests. Furthermore, Shields uses his strong wrestling base to dominate opponents from any position, especially when he gets top control on an opponent.
During the upcoming fight, Miller will have to be on the look out for all submissions, including Shields’ extremely strong guillotine choke, which he used to topple middleweight Robbie Lawler in June.
Shields’ biggest weakness is his striking game, which he is constantly working on, even though many look past his constantly honed skills.
“I work with Tareq Azim, Rob Kaman and spar with Nick Diaz, the guys at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and Fairtex,” Shields said. “I tend to go to my strength, which is jiu jitsu, but I feel confident in my stand up, but of course I’m always working to improve it and all the aspects of my game.”
Many MMA fans wonder why Shields didn’t flee for the UFC after Elite collapsed, instead deciding to sign with Strikeforce.
“When Elite folded they held onto all the contracts,” Shield said, noting his camp hired an attorney to help get them out of the Elite contract if nothing could be resolved. “When Strikeforce bought Elite and all the contracts they held, we decided we could work with them and it made more sense to befighting rather than sitting and waiting for the legal system. Strikeforce is a good company and with CBS coming on board it should really help make another push for MMA.”
Shields remained quiet about his future plans once his Strikeforce contract ends, but a move to the UFC, which has the best welterweight roster in the world, is likely. Once in the UFC, Shields understands he’d likely be matched up with the trio of AKA fighters, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Mike Swick, in a possible Welterweight clash to designate a No. 1 challenger.
“I would fight any of them,” Shields said when asked about the possibility. “We train together some (times), but know we might have to fight each other sometime. Nick Diaz is the only person in my weight that I wouldn’t fight. We’ve been training together for almost 10 years and are good friends.”
Shields, still one of the top-ranked welterweights, will face a major step up in competition if he joins the UFC WW division. Aside from champion Georges St. Pierre, Fitch, Koscheck and Swick, there is the possibility of Shields fighting B.J. Penn, Paul Daley, Matt Hughes, and Matt Serra, depending on what UFC President Dana White and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva want to do with it.
To end our interview, Shields wanted to thank MMA fans for their continued support of the sport.
“Thanks to all my fans and the all the fans of MMA, who make MMA happen, and to my sponsors: Tapout, Champion Nutrition, and Rockstar.”
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