In 2010, Jake Shields entered the UFC with significant fanfare. Now, after several lackluster UFC performances, Shields finds his career on the line against Tyron Woodley at UFC 161.
When Shields departed Strikeforce for the UFC in 2010, he was riding high with a 14-fight winning streak. He was also coming off of a spectacular performance in which he dominated heavy-favorite Dan Henderson to defend his Strikeforce middleweight championship. Shields appeared to be more than ready to give a significant challenge to UFC champion George St. Pierre.
Shields, however, quickly failed to live up to expectations in the UFC. After a controversial victory over Martin Kampmann, he was dominated by St. Pierre and was later knocked out by Jake Ellenberger. Now, coming off a boring decision victory over Ed Herman (later changed to a no-contest for Shields’ drug use), Shields is facing a must-win situation against the hard-hitting Woodley.
Shields definitely feels the pressure of the situation, however, he understands he must avoid being overaggressive against the powerful Woodley.
In a recent interview with NBC Sports AM 1060 in Phoenix, Shields spoke about needing to fight a smart fight against Woodley. “[Woodley] is well rounded and he’s definitely top, top notch,” Shields said. “I want to go out and strike with him and then, at some point, get him down. But being such a good wrestler, he is not easy to take down. I have to go out there and mix it up, and not force things.”
Woodley, who is coming off a huge knockout victory over Jay Hieron at UFC 156, has the power to put a quick end to Shields’ night.
As a result, Shields must fight a safe, smart fight to grind out a victory over Woodley so he may continue his career in the world’s leading MMA promotion.