A lopsided decision loss in his last fight has proven to be the end of the line in the UFC for Jake Shields. The 35-year-old former title challenger has been released by the organization after a poor showing in Dallas at UFC 171 against Hector Lombard. It was his first loss in five fights and his first setback since 2011.
Shields found out the hard way, just as Yushin Okami and Jon Fitch previously did, that a high price tag and a grinding style aren’t a great combination these days. Okami and Fitch were former title challengers who were released in the past year by the organization despite being legitimate top-10 fighters at the time of their dismissal.
Shields had been hoping that a victory over Lombard would’ve moved him into title contention after victories over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley, but it failed to materialize. “Lightning” had him nearly finished in the opening round via strikes and completely dominated the fight. It was a disappointing performance by Shields and put the capper on an Octagon stint that would have to be termed a disappointment.
Shields came into the organization with plenty of advance hype thanks to a lengthy win streak in Strikeforce that included victories over Dan Henderson and Robbie Lawler. After a decision victory in his debut against Martin Kampmann, he was given a title shot at UFC 129 against Georges St-Pierre. GSP earned the decision victory in front of over 55 thousand fans in Toronto, and it would prove to be the last title opportunity for Shields.
The former Strikeforce champion finished up his UFC tenure with a record of 4-3-1 and failed to produce a single knockout or submission victory. Three of his Octagon wins were by split decision. His representatives say they will be exploring other options so that Shields can continue his career. The World Series of Fighting promotion, which has former UFC veteran Rousimar Palhares as welterweight champion, or ONE FC would seem the most likely suitors for Shields’ services.
Bellator would be considered the longshot for Shields given that they failed to re-sign unbeaten welterweight champion Ben Askren because of his non fan-friendly style. Askren, who has a grappling-dominant style like Shields, eventually signed with the Singapore-based ONE FC promotion.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports