Jake Shields is one of the most elite welterweights of all time, but he’s flying slightly under the radar. There’s no doubt about it, and UFC 171 is a night for welterweights, with big names like Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit, Robbie Lawler, and Tyron Woodley.
But guess who’s a man that’s beaten three of those four elites?
That’s right, Jake Shields: his two most recent wins are against Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley, both via split decision. In his earlier days in MMA, he defeated Robbie Lawler with a guillotine choke and bested Carlos Condit with a decision.
He’s also beaten a whose who list of welterweights and middleweights: Yoshihiro Akiyama, Martin Kampmann, Dan Henderson, Jason Miller, Paul Daley, Mike Pyle, Yushin Okami, and Hayato Sakurai.
Before Georges St-Pierre and Jake Shields fought, many believed Jake was going to be the toughest test of GSP’s career — Shields was 26-4 and on a 15 fight win streak. Before the fight against GSP, he went through a series of tough opponents: Dan Hersonson, Martin Kampmann, Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley, and Jason Miller etc.
It may seem a bit absurd that the opponent GSP thought was “his toughest” (before Hendricks) isn’t even showcased in the “UFC Countdown” show. With a resume like Shields’, a case can be made that he’s one of the greatest welterweights of all time. Perhaps even more absurd is that Shields defeated three of the four fighters in the (co)main bouts.
But time and again, it’s what happens in the UFC when a fighter wins by close decisions and lacks “an exciting style”. As many speculated, this was the reason Ben Askren never quite made it to the UFC. Shields is a grappling oriented elite fighter, whereas Hendricks, Condit, Lawler, and Woodley can all be categorized as explosive strikers.
On Saturday night, Shields will be against yet another explosive striker with an elite grappling background: Hector Lombard. Tune in to Scifighting.com for more coverage and breakdowns.