After dominating the competition in Strikeforce’s middleweight division, Jake Shields made the bold choice to drop down to welterweight for his UFC debut at UFC 121.
The move paid immediate dividends, as Shields was able to squeak past Martin Kampmann and earn himself a shot at Georges St-Pierre in just his second UFC bout, but Shields came up short against the champion and was forced to move to the back of the line of welterweight competitors.
Following a loss to rising contender Jake Ellenberger, Shields was in a must-win situation against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 144, and he delivered a decent showing and earned a decision win.
But the fact is, Shields has never quite looked like the world-class fighter he was made out to be when he joined the UFC roster, and he seems to feel that deciding to avoid cutting the extra 15 pounds to welterweight will bring him back to the form that once had him ranked among the pound-for-pound best in the world.
With the majority of the top competitors in the middleweight division currently locked into fights, there aren’t a whole lot of options for Shields at this point, but there are a few matchups that make sense for the former Strikeforce champion to take in his return to 185.