After witnessing former title contenders Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami feel the boot from the UFC, Jake Shields knew his back was against the wall.
In Shields’ last two fights before facing Maia, he had performances that bored many fans of the sport, and after beating Ed Herman he tested positive for a banned substance which negated what the win.
While it wasn’t a finish, Shields emerged on top in a close split decision over decorated grappler Demian Maia.
“Obviously, I wanted to finish Demian Maia but he’s such an amazing fighter and I think he showed up in amazing shape ready,” Shields said at the post-fight press conference. “And I just wasn’t able to do that tonight and he gave me a lot closer fight than I wanted. But I’m happy I got the w.”
Now, after defeating the No.4-ranked Maia, Shields feels like he’s on the path to fight Georges St-Pierre for the title once again. He understands, however, that it may take another big fight for his dream to come to fruition but he welcomes the challenge with open arms.
“I think it puts me right back up,” Shields said of his place in the rankings. “Demian was fourth in the world, and was on a four-fight win streak. I already got wins over Carlos Condit, Robbie Lawler – a top contender, so I want a shot back at GSP.
“Whether I got to fight Rory MacDonald, Carlos Condit, or any of the top contenders I just want to fight people at the top right now.”
For more on the UFC Fight Night 29 press conference watch it here on SciFighting.com.