· On The Spot ~ Jake Shields
J. Andrew Yount opens MMA Spot.net's Interviews section by interviewing Elite XC Welterweight Champion Jake Shields. Shields, one of brightest stars in the division not currently in Ultimate Fighting Championship, is currently consodered to be one of the top three or four fighters at 170, and also considered to be one of the best grapplers in the sport today.
Shields would display that grappling recently with submission victories over Brazilian Jui Jitsu black belt Nick Thompson (to win the vacant title), and British powerhouse Paul Daley. See what all Jake has to say about critics, the future, and what he's been doing since his last fight.
MMA Spot: Congratulations on your historical wins over Nick Thompson and Paul Daley, to become the first (and maybe only) Elite XC Welterweight Champions. And on your remarkable run of early finishes lately. It seems that you certainly are one of the best fighters in the world, regardless of organization or weight class.
Jake Shields: Thanks.
MS: Since the financial issues with ProElite, how have you kept busy?
JS: I train and teach everyday and I just opened a gym in Berkeley, CA. It's keeping me pretty busy.
MS: Congratulations. Having your own gym is a big deal, how is that going?
JS: The gym is going great. We have been filling up quick. Another space, next to us came up for lease, we got it and will have it up and going soon. One side will be for grappling and the other for boxing & kickboxing. It's cool to see it grow so fast.
MS: Have you had any discussions with ProElite or Elite XC officials about the future yet?
JS: There are rumors they were trying to sell the promotion. But nothing is solid as of yet.
MS: Some of the other ProElite fighters have been able to find fights outside of EliteXC. Is that a possibility while you wait for the contractual issues to be resolved?
JS: Ya, I could fight individual fights, but right now I'm waiting to see what happens. I think it will be resolved real soon.
MS: Recently, it's been reported that you have opened up your training, and have worked with guys like John Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and others, how has that been going? And do you plan to continue to do this?
JS: I've done some training at AKA in the past. They have a lot of good fighters at my weight and just above. I haven't been there since October, since there's a possibility I could be fighting some of them soon.
MS: After defeating nearly all of the top welterweights not currently in Ultimate Fighting Championship, what seems more realistic at this point, continuing at 170, or moving up to fight at 185? Or is a move to UFC the most logical choice?
JS: Well, UFC is probably the most logical choice. They have all of the top 170’s, except me. But I need to get the contractual issues with Elite settled.
MS: You’ve most recently had convincing wins over such quality opponents as Paul Daley, Nick Thompson, and Mike Pyle. Who do you see out there as a possible next opponent? Is there a "next opponent" all ready lined up?
JS: I don't have any fights lined up yet. But I hope to have something in the first quarter of next year. I'll take anyone that's put in front of me.
MS: Your striking and takedowns were heavily criticized after your fight with Paul Daley. How do you feel about those criticisms?
JS: I was a little off in the beginning, but I found my rhythm. Daley's one of the better standup guys in welterweight division and I didn't get hit, only a couple of jabs to the body. I didn't get hurt and I controlled and finished the fight. But, of course, I'm always working on my stand-up game.
MS: Your career resume seemingly dwarfs that of other fighters in or out of your division. With victories over such top contenders as; Mach Sakurai, Akira Kikuchi, Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, Dave Menne, and Paul Daley, does it upset you that you haven't garnered the same notoriety as other "less accomplished" fighters?
JS: No, I'm just starting to get more attention, ---being on CBS and Showtime has helped a lot. But my main focus is fighting and not worrying about all the other stuff--my time is coming. I just need to keep winning and going for the best.
MS: What do you say about the folks that use the "Big fish / Little pond" comparison when assessing your abilities and accomplishments?
JS: I've already eaten some of the “Big Fish" who are in the "Big Pond".
MS: In a perfect world, fighters would always get the fights they want. Regardless of weight class, which fighters would you like to fight and why?
JS: Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, & Anderson Silva. They are all excellent rounded fighters.
MS: In the past you've had a desire to fight certain guys; Frank Trigg, and more recently, Frank Shamrock. Has this desire waned at all, or are both fights still wants for you at this point in your career?
JS: I'd like to fight either of them, but Frank Shamrock has the bigger name right now. I don't think either one of them will fight me; they know I'll kick their butt.
MS: Everyone knows that you train regularly with Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, and Nate Diaz. Who else do you train regularly with and is there anyone we may not know of that we can expect big things from?
JS: We have a lot of good up and comers on the team and we get some top fighters that stop by to work out when they're in town. I have a lot of good training partners. We push each other to be our best.
MS: As one of the best grapplers in the business, do you prefer to fight MMA, or competing in ADCC, Grapplers Quest, etc.?
JS: Right now, MMA is where I make my money. I love competing at both, so I'll be doing grappling events, whenever I can, as well as MMA.
MS: Who is the best grappler in MMA today?
JS: Jacare, Damien Maia & Nog (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria)
MS: What do you do away from training and teaching that keeps you grounded?
JS: I mostly train and teach all the time, not much time to do anything else. But I like to do stuff outdoors, travel some, go out to clubs, and hang out with my daughter.
MS: As the debate rages on in internet chat rooms, who do you believe is the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world?
JS: Fedor Emelianenko
MS: Best ever fighter in MMA?
JS: Fedor Emelianenko
MS: Do you have any sponsors, or organizations you'd like to mention before we wrap up this interview?
JS: I'd like to thank Bad Boy, RockStar Energy Drink, Eternal, and UV
MS: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. Good luck on the future in your fighting career and with your school. We look forward to bigger and better things from a great champion like yourself. We hope to see you fighting again soon.
JS: Thanks. I enjoyed it.
To see more about Jake Shields, visit his website at www.JakeShields.com
by J. Andrew Yount