If you REALLY listen to what UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre is saying, it appears he may be bracing for Strikeforce free agent Jake Shields to make his Octagon debut within the coming months.
“Shields is amazing. He’s of course the guy to beat right now,” St-Pierre diplomatically told sportsnet.ca. “He’s fighting at 185 pounds right now, and he’s dominating and beating everyone at 185, and he’s a 170-pound fighter. He’s not only an amazing fighter, he’s an amazing jiu-jitsu fighter.”
Although Shields is Strikeforce’s reigning middleweight title holder, he had been recognized for his welterweight prowess up until his last three scraps. He owns a dominant 25-4-1 record and is perfect through his last 14 contests, stats that GSP believes Shields obtained by his mastery of the sport.
“He’s a great submission fighter,” St-Pierre said of his impending foe. “He’s got great technique and takedowns. He’s very good at not getting hit standing up. He’s a perfect mixed martial artist and he’s going to have a long career. He’s a very smart guy and I have a lot of respect for this guy. I love watching his fights.”
These comments really aren’t anything surprising, in fact it’s GSP Pre-Fight 101. The planet’s baddest 170-pounder is notorious for excessively singing the praises of his future opponents, perhaps his own method of gamesmanship. If that’s the case, St-Pierre appears to be expecting a date with Shields sooner rather than later, as he was laying the props on pretty thick.
“As a matter of fact, there’s only a few guys I like to watch in mixed martial arts, to learn, and he’s one of them,” GSP said of Shields’ brilliance. “I like to watch Jake Shields, Anderson Silva, Mauricio Shogun, Lyoto Machida. I like to watch also Fedor [Emelianenko] and [Kazushi] Sakuraba back in the day, the Gracies, but there are few other guys that I like watching for my own personal learning.”
To most fans, everyone that St-Pierre listed would be understood except for Shields. He believes that even though Shields has been starring in smaller promotions, he’s just as skilled as the UFC’s elite. If that’s the case, GSP would respectfully like to get some.
“As a proud champion, I want to fight the best and Jake Shields is the best right now,” St-Pierre stated.
Shields completed his Strikeforce requirements when he dominated Dan Henderson on April 17th. It’s reported Strikeforce holds a 40-60 day restriction in which they get first dibs at retaining their champ.
UFC president Dana White says he could care less about Strikeforce’s grace period.
“The deal with Shields, is that there’s some discrepancy as to whether it’s 45 or 60 days he has left on his contract,” White told a group of reporters after Saturday’s “Aldo vs. Faber” press conference. “So he can work that out with the knuckleheads [at Strikeforce], and when he does, we’ll jump in there.”