Former EliteXC champion Jake Shields has a reputation as being the best welterweight fighter not currently signed with the UFC.
After his fight with Paul Daley last year, Shields called out GSP and wanted to arrange a unification title match. Due to UFC's policy not to co-promote with other organizations, Shields' suggestion was never going to happen.
Nevertheless, Jake Shields has consistently talked about how he thinks he is one of the best welterweight fighters in the world and how he wants to fight the best.
After EliteXC went under, Shields' contract was bought out by Strikeforce. he has since beat Robbie Lawler and now has one fight remaining on his contract.
Given his good credentials, one might think that Shields would be in a great position to try to simply finish off his contract with Strikeforce and then join the UFC.
Instead, few hours ago, news has surfaced that Shields is pursuing a shot for the Strikeforce Interim middleweight title.
Presumably, a fighter only takes up a title shot in an organization as big as Strikeforce if he is willing to defend the belt multiple times. As savvy a promoter as Scott Coker is, he isn't just going to let a fighter like Shields just walk away with the interim title.
All of this leads me to believe that Jake Shields really isn't interested in fighting the best fighters in the world. It seems like he is content to fight all of the Strikeforce fighters like Lawler, Riggs, Scott Smith, and others who were not good enough to stay in the UFC.
Even worse, Nick Diaz, perhaps the best Strikeforce fighter in Shields' weight class, is a training partner of Shields. The two have frequently stated that they would never fight each other.
The Strikeforce middleweight champion, Cung Le, has never had to show any BJJ skills before, so Shields would have a large advantage in a fight against Le.
By fighting for an interim title, Shields is going further and further away from ever entering the UFC.
Unless some new development comes about that convinces me otherwise, I'm not going to consider Jake Shields as someone trying to aspire to great anymore.
If he wanted greatness, he would be doing everything possible to get a fight against GSP.
Since his actions have proved otherwise, we can conclude that Shields' career decisions are primarily motivated by money.
Either that, or he watched UFC 100 and wet his pants in fear at the prospect of fighting the top UFC fighters like GSP, Alves, and Fitch.