Since signing with EliteXC in 2007, Jake Shields had a mission to become the company's first welterweight champion and after a lot of hard work, numerous opponents, going through his first major injury and his debut fight on network TV, he finally got the gold around his waist.
Most fans watching EliteXC knew that Shields was the real deal going into his fight with Nick Thompson, but some still questioned if he could hang with many of the top welterweights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the promotion that is home to the majority of the top 170-pounders.
Shields answered that question in resounding fashion as he tapped out Thompson, who was previously on a 12-fight win streak, in just a little more than a minute during their championship bout Saturday night.
"I was prepared for the full 25 minutes, I was in the best shape of my life, but I was hoping to end it in the first so it ended up working," said Shields about the quick fight.
While the Cesar Gracie student can't help but be happy with his performance, he is far away from realizing his dream of being considered the best in the world.
"I'm not satisfied yet," Shields stated. "I've got a ways to go, won the Elite(XC) title that I'm very proud of, but I want to be considered the best and I know there's some fighters out there ranked above me and I'm not going to be satisfied until I beat them."
Two of the fighters that Shields mentioned in his post-fight interview are going to battle in the UFC on Aug. 9 as champion Georges St. Pierre and top contender, Jon Fitch, face off in a championship bout. The California native would love to face the winner, but he understands that fight will not happen. . .at least for now.
"I guess that was a mistake, I just kind of called them out, but that fight realistically won't happen next," he said of St. Pierre and Fitch. "Those are two guys I'd really love to fight right now. Two of the top guys at my weight, I've got a lot of respect for both of them, that's why I want to fight them."
While facing the best the UFC has to offer is probably not going to happen for Shields, he feels there are plenty of quality opponents that EliteXC can provide for him to defend his title against.
"I'd like to fight (Drew) Fickett, he's been running his mouth and that fight was supposed to happen, I still wouldn't mind that one," commented Shields. "(Shinya) Aoki is a fight I've wanted for a while, he just lost, but he still has quite a resume on him. They've got Akira Kikuchi, which was actually my last loss, they could possibly bring in him."
Always the warrior, Shields also didn't rule out a move to 185 pounds to fight top competition.
"I'm willing to fight up a weight," said Shields. "I'd fight Robbie Lawler, FrankShamrock, if Elite wants me to do something like that, I'd be happy to do that."
Shields also mentioned that he hopes to get another fight in before the end of this year and the Oct. 4 EliteXC-CBS show would be a perfect place for him to defend his title for the first time.
For now, Shields said he plans on heading back into training right away to prepare for the next challenge that lies ahead.