Jake Shields vs. Tyron Woodley Expected for UFC 161 in June

Damon MartinContributor IFebruary 27, 2013

August 11, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Joe Rogan (left) interviews Jake Shields (right) after he defeated Ed Herman (not pictured) during UFC 150 at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A former welterweight contender and a Strikeforce import will battle it out as the first confirmed fight for an upcoming card in June that will be UFC 161.

Jake Shields, who returns to the welterweight division after a brief stop back at middleweight, looks to get back into the title race when he faces former Strikeforce contender Tyron Woodley.

Shields vs. Woodley will take place at UFC 161, which is expected to take place June 15, according to MMAJunkie.com, who initially reported the news. 

Following a six-month suspension for testing positive for a banned substance in his last fight in August at UFC 150, Shields took some time off and decided a move back to 170 pounds was the best thing for his career.

For several years, Shields was considered the top welterweight in the sport that was not fighting in the UFC while he competed under brands like Elite XC and Strikeforce.

Shields told Bleacher Report earlier this year that he was moving back to 170 pounds and looking to get into title contention sooner rather than later.

"I'm always kind of stuck in the middle, it's either a big cut or I'm small at the weight," Shields stated when speaking to Bleacher Report in February. "I was constantly trying to keep my weight up, I was eating all the time and lifting all the time.  I never really got over 195 pounds, and even then all the 170-pounders are bigger than that.  Basically I got a new diet, a cleaner diet. I've got my weight back down into the high 180s.

"I made some changes, my weight came down, my cardio feels better. I feel a lot cleaner with more energy."

Shields will look to capitalize on the move down to welterweight right away facing a very tough challenge in former Missouri wrestler and Strikeforce title challenger Tyron Woodley.

Woodley let his presence be known on day one in the Octagon when he flattened Jay Hieron by knockout in the first round of their fight at UFC 156.

Now Woodley will get his chance to take out a UFC title contender when he faces Jake Shields in June.

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted