UFC 129’s Challengers – Jake Shields

By Thomas Gerbasi

When the list of people you’ve beaten includes the names Martin Kampmann, Dan Henderson, Robbie Lawler, Dave Menne, Yushin Okami, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, Carlos Condit, Jason Miller and Paul Daley, it’s safe to say that you’ve been in some big fights.

But Jake Shields knows that his April 30th challenge of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will be unlike any other.

“Without a doubt it will be the biggest,” said Shields, the number one contender at 170 pounds. “Fights don’t get much bigger than this.”

Don’t mistake that observation for intimidation though. Shields has been doing this sort of thing for 11 years now, and he has 26 wins to show for it. In fact, he hasn’t lost since 2005, a string covering 15 bouts. So it’s unlikely that 40,000 Canadians screaming for their hero will rattle the California product.

“You try not to think about the crowd,” he said. “It’s just gonna be me and Georges in that cage, so it doesn’t matter how many people are gonna be in the audience.”

St-Pierre is quite the handful in the Octagon though, and if his own winning streak (eight) and five title defenses aren’t enough, consider that he hasn’t lost as much as a round since August of 2007. Yet during that time, Shields, who was collecting title belts in the Elite XC and Strikeforce organizations, always had an eye on the pride of Montreal while envisioning a future fight.

“This is the fight I’ve wanted for years,” he said. “He (St-Pierre) has been a champ for a while in the UFC, and he’s the one everyone’s talking about as the best in the world. I’ve been over there thinking I can beat him for the last three, four years, and it’s been frustrating not having that opportunity. So to finally have this opportunity in front of me, I couldn’t be more excited.”

 

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