Jake Shields’ run in the UFC came to an end recently, but he could be fighting for a title in another promotion soon enough.
In an interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, the 35-year-old discussed his exit from the Octagon, signing with World Series of Fighting and more.
On getting released from the UFC: “I was a little bit annoyed and a little bit irritated, but it’s not that big of a deal. It is what it is. You’ve just got to move on. A year or two ago it would have been really bad, with no options, but I think right now MMA is starting to blow up outside the UFC. World Series of Fighting seems to really be doing good things and we were lucky enough to work out a deal with them and move forward with my career at that point.”
On the process of signing a new deal: “I was certainly in no rush. I had just fought. I think I had three fights in nine months, so I was a little bit burnt out. … I told my manager, ‘Yeah, I want to fight again, but we don’t need to rush this. Take your time.’ But things came together pretty fast, faster than I was really trying to do it, but they put the contract together and we worked out a deal with World Series of Fighting. I’m real excited to be a part of their team now.”
On whether he was surprised that Bellator didn’t express interest: “Not really. I mostly talked to OneFC and World Series of Fighting. They both had some good offers and negotiations there, and I decided to go with World Series.”
On the weight he’ll fight at in WSOF: “At this point I’m thinking welterweight. My weight’s not real big and I’m kind of staying -- I’m actually only in the high 180s, so it would be an easy cut to 170. When I was going up to 185, I can definitely fight at that weight, but it takes a lot of heavy lifting. It takes some time to build back up. I’m not saying I wouldn’t fight there again, but I’d just need a little time to do some heavy lifting and put some weight on.”
On a possible rematch with Yushin Okami: “That’s one that I would fight. He’s a guy that I have a lot of respect for.”
On future opponents in WSOF: “They haven’t thrown any names yet. I haven’t really thought about it too much. I know obviously they have [Rousimar] Palhares and [Jon] Fitch; I think they’re already signed to fight each other. So yeah, I’ll probably fight somebody else there. I know they have [Josh] Burkman. They have a couple of other good guys at my weight. I’d have to look at the lineup. … Nowadays there can be really tough guys I’ve never heard of as well.”
On a title shot: “To me, I haven’t really thought about it too much, but I would think I would be up for a title fight in one [fight], two at most. I’m still a name. I’m arguably top 10, so it makes sense to put me in for a title fight pretty fast, but at this point I’m not too worried about it.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:02:43).