Of all the crossovers from STRIKEFORCE to the UFC so far, it seems that former SF Middleweight Champion Jake Shields may have had the most difficult time adjusting. Though fighting at 185 lbs in SF, Shields came to the UFC as a 170 lber, and he has gone 2-2 in the division, and frankly he has been less than impressive, even in victory. Now Shields has announced his return to the Middleweight division. It is a bit of a yawn, because I can’t see how Shields is going to cope with the sheer size difference with the UFC Middleweights, and unless he does something incredible I can’t get excited about seeing him challenge Anderson Silva for the belt. But Middleweight does provide Shields with several interesting prospects for matches.
At UFC 146 on May 26th, Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller takes on C.B. Dolloway in a Middleweight bout. Miller, however is an interesting bout for Shields, as it would be a rematch of their five round battle for the Middleweight title back in November of 2009.
Don’t get me wrong, I remember the original fight. It featured a lot of Shields’ controlling the Jiu Jitsu, with the most compelling moment being provided when Miller almost had a rear naked choke at the end of round 3. More of Shields classic, boring style.
But it is what happened on another STRIKEFORCE show, when Miller interrupted an in-cage interview with Shields and a brawl erupted with the Shields camp, specifically Nick Diaz. Face it, tapping into the old rivalry is the only way anyone is going to get excited about seeing Shields fight.
In April of 2010, Shields scored a five round unanimous decision over future hall of famer Dan Henderson. Granted it is unlikely, because Henderson has been campaigning at Lightheavyweight and Heavyweight, but he has expressed a return to Middleweight isn’t out of the question. Granted, Henderson pinpointed a title match with Anderson Silva as really his only interest, perhaps now with Shields available, he would consider trying to avenge the loss.
In the case of Miller, it will likely be a boring fight, and could be a reason to jettison one of them from the UFC. Both certainly signed contracts for above the minimum, and if neither is going to pull their weight, then cut them.
As for Henderson-Shields, I don’t think Jake can do it again. And beating someone like Henderson or another big name is something he is going to have to do to remain relevant.