Jake Shields is perhaps the most underrated fighter in the world. He is the No. 5 ranked welterweight, according to the MMAWeekly.com World MMA Rankings. He has impressive victories over CarlosCondit, YushinOkami and RenatoVerissimo. He is the current EliteXC welterweight champion and will defend his belt on Saturday night against Paul Daley.
Shields was heavily rumored to take on top middleweight MattLindland in the October Affliction show. Unfortunately, the Affliction show was postponed to January and left Shields an opportunity to defend his title on EliteXC's Saturday Night Fights.
"Initially I was a little disappointed for a couple days because I had my mind set on that Lindland fight," he explained recently on MMAWeekly Radio. "In retrospect, I'm certainly glad this is what I did. After a couple days, I realized fighting on CBS is obviously a huge opportunity to get my name out there and the fact that the Affliction card got postponed made me really happy that I went with this fight."
EliteXC is in need of an impressive card and high ratings in order to keep their company on a progressive path. They have really beefed up their card pitting Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock against each other, which is sure to garner some interest. They are also putting popular stars Gina Carano and AndreiArlovski on the card, as well as their welterweight champion. Shields believes that this card is fantastic and would definitely watch it, even if he weren't on the card. "This is the best card I ever fought on, I think. I would definitely be happy to watch these fights as a fan. I like every fight on the card myself. I'm excited to be a part of this."
Daley is a seasoned veteran and deserves much respect for the impressive career he has had to this point. However, Shields isn't changing much in his camp in preparation for his upcoming bout. "My training camp is pretty much the same as always. I always do slight changes depending on who I'm fighting and I'm always trying to evolve and get better. Pretty much the Caesar Gracie camp. I feel in great shape. My training camp went great. I'm looking to smash this guy."
Daley has some very deadly stand up and has a laundry list of knockout victims. Respecting his opponent's knockout power, Shields will make sure that he gets the fight in a position that will earn him the victory.
"He obviously has phenomenal stand up. He probably has some of the best stand up in MMA. I'll focus on my stand up obviously, but I'm also going to work on my takedowns," he explained. "This is a guy I want to put on his back and submit him."
This fight has had its share of trash talk, especially from Daley. He was recently on MMAWeekly Radio and had this to say about the outcome of the fight, "Semtex is going to do what Semtex does. I'm coming to punch your head off. Jake, you better keep your guard up. Watch the knees when you're shooting in. After I knock you out, just smile, shake my hand, and we'll have a beer and whatever."
Shields believes that Daley is only saying that out of fear. "I think Paul is a little scared," he said. "That's why he's out there running his mouth. He's trying to get me to go after him to play his game. I'm a seasoned vet. I'm not stupid. I'm not going to go out there and lose my cool. He's just trying to find a way to get me psyched out. It isn't going to work."
Even though Shields has been working on his standup, he knows that his main advantage won't be on the feet, but on the ground. "That's not my game plan to go out there and look for a knockout. I want to get a knockout sooner or later. I want to show the world what I can do. In my opinion, this would be the wrong guy to showcase my stand up skills against. I'll stand with him for a minute, put him on his back, and hopefully submit him."
Daley isn't really known for his high level jiu-jitsu game and that's why Shields is planning on taking him down. "I have a feeling that he hasn't rolled with anyone in my caliber. In England, they just don't have the same level jiu-jitsu as they do in America."
If Shields is successful in his fight against Daley, he may move up in weight or even move on to another organization. "As long as I go out there and win this fight, I'm going to be getting good offers from different shows. I have a great relationship with the UFC. I have a great relationship with Affliction. I have really good talks going on with them."
However, he isn't ruling out a chance to stay with his current promotion either. "There's a good chance that EliteXC will last," commented Shields. "I hope they do. They treat me good. I'm their champ. I'm not too worried if they fall apart, I'll find a home somewhere."
First thing's first, Shields has to get past Daley in order to move on in his already illustrious career. Feeling confident, he believe he will end the fight with a submission. "I have a feeling I'm going to catch a rear naked choke. Something's telling me."