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Though date still not set, Shields has mind on EliteXC title bout


Just a few short months ago it seemed as if former Shooto champion Jake Shields was going to square off against former Ultimate Fighting Championship contender Drew Fickett for the EliteXC welterweight title.

The match was signed, sealed and ready to deliver when Shields suffered a back injury in training, derailing the potentially explosive match-up.

The fight was then rescheduled to take place in Hawaii on this coming Saturday, but complications with Shields' recovery and an announcement that Fickett himself had sustained an injury forced the bout to be put on hold for a later date.

Then as if there wasn't enough doubt of when the fight was going to take place, it was announced that Fickett would be traveling to Canada to face rising prospect Ryan Ford for the Maximum Fighting Championship's 170-pound title on Friday, July 25.

Surprised, say the least, by his scheduled opponent's sudden urge to possibly further place their bout in jeopardy by risking injury, Shields took an opportunity to address the situation and how it affects his quest to gain the EliteXC belt.

"I'm definitely going to fight, and from what I understand, it's going to be a title shot," he said of the coming months. "All my fights for EliteXC I've finished in the first round. I've done my job and now I'm just waiting for a title.

"Hopefully it will be me and Drew Fickett. That's a fight I want, he wants, and I know the fans want to see it. Hopefully nothing weird goes on there (against Ryan Ford in MFC) and our fight will take place, but if not, I'll fight anyone Elite throws at me -- as long as it's for a title."

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According to Shields, while a date hasn't been set in stone yet, his title fight looks to happen sometime in the early Fall, perhaps in front of the largest American audience ever to witness an MMA event.

"I'm thinking September," he commented on a possible return date. "I'm hoping sooner, because I'm ready to fight right now.

"Obviously I haven't fought in a while. I got injured before my last fight and had to pull out, which is not something I wanted to do. I'd like to fight within a month, but I have to be realistic, and I'm thinking it will probably be at the next CBS show in September."

As for his nagging back injury that caused all this commotion in the first place, Shields says it's firmly behind him and it's time to move forward.

"I'm 100 percent," he exclaimed. "I was struggling with it for a while -- a lot longer than I wanted -- and it took me a few months to get 100 percent, but I did the right things and now I am, and I'm more motivated than ever."

"I'm ready to do some big things this year and next year."

Regardless of what happens with Fickett in the coming months, Shields' goal is within his grasp, and barring another freak occurrence, he's going to grab hold and not let go.

"I plan on taking that title in September against anyone that they throw at me," he reiterated with confidence.