("Thank you for your opening statement, Mr. Miller. Mr. Diaz and Mr. Shields now have 30 seconds to present their rebuttal." PicProps: BuzzHollywood.com)
Even after a panel of world renowned experts weighed in last week to unanimously declare that Jake Shields still needs to prove himself worthy in the UFC’s 170-pound division, the company is not wavering in its plans to shoehorn him into a title shot against the winner of next month’s Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck scrap. Shields now even says he’ll be cageside at UFC 124 in Montreal, pretty much ensuring that the UFC will tempt fate by having the Cesar Gracie jiu jitsu fighter enter the Octagon to confront the victor.
We all know what happened the last time the former Strikeforce middleweight champ was involved in a postfight altercation inside a cage. Bad things, man. Fortunately, if Shields decides to engage in a company-sponsored mean-mug competition after UFC 124 it will at least be at an event run by professionals, so the possibility of an encore performance of “Strikeforce: Nashville” is pretty slim. Especially since all parties involved will no doubt get a stern “Be cool, motherfuckers,” speech from Dana White prior to the show. Still, Shields was already teasing a heel turn during his recent interview with MMA Weekly …
“I definitely plan on going up to Montreal and watching to see who I’m fighting. Maybe I’ll pull a Koscheck and bash their hockey team or something like that,” Shields said (actually “joked” was the word Weekly used). “There’s a possibility of me fighting (St. Pierre) in Toronto in that big 50,000 seat arena or whatever it is. You might as well make them hate you like Koscheck’s done.”
Indeed, nothing like a little prepared material about a city’s local sports franchises to get them up in arms. Unless Koscheck wins, of course. Then Shields suddenly likely becomes the fan favorite in all of this. That’s not stopping everyone involved from pretty much proceeding as if this one’s in the bag for the hometown champion, however. Weekly, for instance, ran this latest news under the headline: “Jake Shields Happy to Face GSP in Toronto,” as if it’s already a done deal.
Shields himself gives “a slight edge” to St. Pierre against Koscheck in the five-round rematch of the two fighters’ three-rounder at UFC 74. Also, he says he would rather fight St. Pierre because he likes Koscheck better. Now that’s a switch.
“I would definitely rather fight GSP,” Shields said. “One, he’s the bigger name, the bigger star, and it’s a guy I’ve wanted to fight for a while. Two, I don’t really want to fight Josh. I’ve been training with him forever, I mean I’ll definitely fight him because it’s business, but fighting against your sparring partners is kind of weird to me. Not that I won’t do it, (it’s) just not something I’m really stoked to do.”
As you know, we ribbed Shields a little bit last week for stating the obvious in saying he “didn’t think he would’ve won” if he’d been facing GSP in his recent UFC debut, instead of Martin Kampmann. He hasn’t even threatened us via Facebook about it yet, so we consider that a win-win for everyone. Anyway, in Weekly’s latest effort, it includes some quotes from Shields that make him appear far more down-to-earth about his showing at UFC 121. We feel it’s only fair to pass those along as well:
“After that fight I knew I put on such a poor performance, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if (White) said either (Jon) Fitch or (Carlos) Condit or something for the title shot,” Shields said. “I wouldn’t have blamed him at all because I was so mad at myself for putting on such a bad performance … (but) even though this wasn’t the best performance, I honestly do still feel I deserve a title shot, on a 15-fight winning streak, over some pretty decent opponents.”