All UFC welterweight Jake Shields had to do at UFC 121 was get his hand raised against Martin Kampmann and he was a lock to face the winner of Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck. Well, the grappler escaped with a split decision victory but Octagon boss Dana White appears to be waning on Shields’ No. 1 contender status.
“I’m still, at this point, not 100 percent sure,” Shields told Sherdog.com. “I know Dana’s made it sound like it’s a good chance it’s still happening, but I don’t know until it’s signed. Right now I’m just back to the gym, doing my thing. If they want me to fight for the title, I’ll happily do that. If not, I’ll fight whoever they want me to fight.”
The Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt was admittedly unimpressive in his win over the better conditioned Kampmann, but did just enough to secure the W.
“I misjudged some things. I misjudged the weight cut coming down. I made a lot of mistakes, but at least I learned from it with Martin before I fight for a title. Definitely, I plan on learning from the mistakes and coming back a lot stronger,” explained the welterweight.
After years of dominating in other promotions not named the UFC, Shields finally signed on the dotted line after taking out Dan Henderson in his final bout under the Strikeforce banner. The change of scenery instantly affected the Cesar Gracie trained fighter.
“It was a lot of pressure, a good opponent. By far the most media [obligations] I’ve ever seen, the most fans, the most attention,” Shields said. “The UFC’s without a doubt the biggest show. I’ve fought [in] big shows, but there’s a huge jump up in the UFC.
“I’m not that happy with my performance overall, but I am happy I won. I’m ready to move forward and have a better second fight in the UFC.”
White agreed with Shields’ assessment immediately following his lackluster Octagon debut.
“No matter how much weight he cut and whatever he did, that’s his fault,” White said a the post-fight press conference. “That’s his stupidity. He’s been in the game for a long time, so I don’t like to use any of that stuff, but the reality is I do know what he did and I know he won’t make those dumb mistakes next time.”
For now, Shields will play the waiting game and see who the division’s top dog will be at UFC 124 on December 11th.