Although Dan Henderson announced he would be challenging Jake Shields for his Strikeforce middleweight title last month, Shields finally confirmed yesterday that the scrap is set for sometime and someplace in April.
“It’s a go now. We finally worked it out a few days ago,” Shields told MMAWeekly.com Tuesday night. “It’s a done deal. It’s been agreed upon by both parties as far as I know, and I think it’s set to go.”
Although Shields was given his assignment, the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter was not authorized to say when and where the 185-pound affair would go down, specifically noting that Strikeforce has yet to finalize a date for their highly anticipated CBS primetime follow-up.
“I have a date (and) venue, but they told me to hold that back,” said Shields. “Hopefully CBS. I think it’s CBS. There’s a slight possibility of Showtime because they’re still (working it out). I don’t know the rest of the card or any of that yet. But me and Dan’s on, and I’m hoping it’s on CBS.”
Henderson shunned the UFC for the smaller MMA organization after his devastating knockout win over Michael Bisping at UFC 100 in April, and he’s clearly motivated to prove that he has plenty left in the tank.
In fact, the ink had barely dried from the four-fight, 16-month contract he signed last month before Henderson started calling for a Strikeforce title match, and Shields was more than happy to oblige.
“I really wanted the fight, the fans really wanted it, so I knew it was going to happen,” Shields commented. “There was a few little things holding it back, but luckily everything’s been worked out and I’m just happy the fight’s happening, and I want to go out there and put on an exciting fight.”
Hendo is the only man to simultaneously hold two major MMA titles, PrideFC’s 185 and 205-pound crowns, so his tweener status has him in the hunt for not only Shields’ belt, but Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi’s strap as well.
“Dan’s a great fighter. He doesn’t have a lot of holes in his game, but I think he does have a few, and I’m going to go out there and try to exploit them,” Shields added.
Shields took the open 185-pound title by defeating Jason Miller at “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers” in November, and you can believe there is nothing the organization, more importantly CBS, would like more than to have an All-American title fight pushing the numbers in their second primetime broadcast.
Although WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko is expected to headline the show against Fabricio Werdum, word is that Fedor hasn’t even started his training camp and will not do so until Strikeforce CONFIRMS who, when and where he will fight.
With roughly eight weeks until showtime, it’s likely Shields/Hendo will be the night’s main event.