June 25, 2008

All Top 10-ranked welterweight Jake Shields has wanted over the past couple of years was to find a stable home in an organization that allowed him to face off against other top 170-pound fighters and one day fight for a title.

Now it appears he will finally get his wish.

Recently it was officially announced by EliteXC that Shields will be squaring off against former Bodog Fight welterweight titleholder Nick "The Goat" Thompson on the July 26 CBS card to determine the promotion's first 170-pound champion.

"I'll fight anyone, but I'm particularly excited about facing Nick Thompson," said Shields. "I actually asked for him.

"I know (EliteXC) didn't want to use (the originally scheduled) Drew Fickett after he fought when he was supposed to be fighting me, and they gave me a few names and as soon as I heard Nick's name, that's who I asked for."

An earlier concern of Shields' was that he might not get to face a top-level fighter for the title, leading to legitimacy questions of any title status he may achieve.

With the addition of Thompson to the fight however, he feels the winner of their match-up will be considered a recognized, legitimate titleholder.

"I feel like I want to fight for a title, but not fight a nobody for it," Shields stated. "I want to fight someone who deserves a title shot, and Nick Thompson's certainly the guy.

"I think Fickett has had quite a career, but lately he hasn't been on quite the upswing that Thompson has, so I'm even more excited for this fight. I'm on a big win streak, he's on a big win streak, so it's going to make for a great championship fight. I think I'm going to beat him still, but it makes it legit when I go out there and beat him."

Even though it is still early, Shields has already begun to size up his new opponent, and feels this could be one of the most explosive fights of the year.

"I think he's a really good, underrated fighter," he said of Thompson. "I've been watching some of his fights and he's a complete fighter.

"He's strong, well-conditioned, has good stand up and jiu-jitsu. I think I bring a lot of the same things, so it's going to be about who breaks who. I think right now I'm at the top of my game and I'm going to take it to him. It's a fight the fans should be excited for, because it's going to be a war."

With an opportunity to co-headline one of the most exposed cards in MMA history as part of a live CBS broadcast on the second edition of CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights, Shields was asked if he's ever been this excited when it comes to his career as he is now.

"Probably not...this is pretty exciting," he said. "It's probably going to be in California, so a lot of friends and family are going to come, (plus) fighting on CBS in front of a few million people -- it's got me really motivated right now."

Shields reiterated that now is the time for him to shine and that the fans shouldn't miss out on what could be a memorable match-up on July 26.

"I think both me and him are going to bring our A-games for this fight. I think he's motivated, and I really am right now, so it's a perfect time for us to fight."

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