Jake Shields isn't getting any younger, and the former Strikeforce champion wants another crack at the UFC welterweight championship.
Shields had one shot already, losing to Georges St-Pierre by unanimous decision at UFC 129. Since then, Shields has gone 3-1-1, with the one no-contest actually being a win that was overturned due to Shields failing a drug test for a still-undisclosed substance.
Riding what essentially amounts to a four-fight winning streak, Shields believes he's closing in on the title. He told MMAjunkie Radio that an emphatic win over Hector Lombard at next week's UFC 171 event in Dallas should be enough to do the trick.
I’ve gotta be close. I’m on a good win streak right now, and I want to go out there put Hector away and hopefully finish, which isn’t an easy task. I would be the first guy to do it and get a title shot.
Shields told MMAjunkie that he believes the Lombard fight is the last on his current contract. And so, much like longtime friend and teammate Gilbert Melendez, Shields is in what amounts to his "contract year."
He needs to go out and put on an impressive performance, just like Melendez did against Diego Sanchez at UFC 166. That performance made Melendez one of the hottest free agents in mixed martial arts, and he cashed in with a lucrative new UFC deal last week.
Shields wants the same scenario to play out in his favor.
I can’t go out and lose to Hector and ask for more money, so I’ve got to take it one step at a time. I’ve got a beast standing in front of me next week.
If Shields can beat Lombard the way he wants to, he'll certainly put himself near the front of the line to face the winner of the main event between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler that will determine a new UFC welterweight champion.