UFC 121 Recap: Thoughts On Jake Shields Following His Win Over Martin Kampmann
Following a controversial win over Martin Kampmann, the fans and media folks began saying what people like me have been saying for years: Jake Shields has almost nothing to offer for Georges St. Pierre. That's a far cry from the old days, when Jake Shields hung onto a Matt Lindlandesque status as a guy outside of the UFC who wasn't getting his due to the politics of fight promotions.
But let's get beyond that first initial thought and really take a at Shields for a moment, because just because he doesn't look particularly threatening to St. Pierre doesn't mean that he sucks, that his accomplishments outside of the UFC don't count, or even that he can't be successful in the UFC.
Jake Shields' Accomplishments
For those people who turn their noses up at Jake Shields' accomplishments outside of the UFC, it's worth taking a look at some of the names on his list of victims.
Dan Henderson, Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, Paul Daley and Robbie Lawler have all suffered defeat at the hands of Shields.
Some of those wins were less than impressive to watch, but at some point a win is a win, and Shields now has at least five wins now over guys who have had some good success in the UFC.
Just Because He's One-Dimensional Doesn't Mean He Sucks
Whenever a one-dimensional fighter loses, people are going to say that he sucks, or that he got exposed.
To a certain degree, it's true: After seeing Kampmann basically shut down Shields' game, it's a lot easier to see his limitations now than it was before.
That said, he's still an elite talent who is capable of beating a lot of other elite fighters.
It's no accident that Shields has already beaten a host of top-level fighters in his career, but styles make fights, and a guy who can stuff some takedowns, and survive on the ground against Shields is going to make it hard for him.
That doesn't mean that Shields can't succeed in the UFC.
Even though we saw the limitations of Shields' wrestling last night, he's still going to be able to finish takedowns on a lot of guys, and once he gets them to the ground, he's probably not going to lose.
Diego Sanchez and Paulo Thiago, who fought on Saturday, are two guys that Shields is probably going to beat by decision, unless he gasses out.
True, Shields may not have been everything he was cracked up to be, but he's still a very good fighter.
Did the Weight Cut Hurt Shields?
One of the major stories of this fight was that Shields cut 20 pounds in one day, which was seen as the reason for his conditioning issues as the fight.
I'm not so sure.
I saw Shields gas out in the third round against Yushin Okami, when he couldn't get him down anymore, and he was looking pretty tired in the second round against Paul Daley. I think the truth is that even if the cut did hurt Shields, he really never had awesome cardio to begin with.
Of course, some will point out that Shields didn't gas out against Dan Henderson at 185 pounds, but we must also consider that Shields was basically able to sit on top of Henderson for the entire fight after the first round, which is something that guys like Kampmann and Okami didn't let him do.
I'm not sold on the idea that Shields cardio will be fixed in his next fight, or that he's better at 185, but you can bet that it's something that will be discussed if Shields struggles finding success against the elite guys at 170.