Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields is readying himself for the biggest fight of his career, as he defends his title against former PRIDE Welterweight and Middleweight champion, Dan Henderson.
The bout is Henderson's first with the promotion, and most of the ads for Saturday's event have focused on the challenger. Shields noted in an interview with Mark Wayne of FightLine.com earlier this week that he understood the promotional tactic, but felt slighted.
"I understand he's a name and they have to push him, it makes sense," said Shields. "But being the champ, I think it would be nice to get as close to equal promotion. You know, even in the UFC, every time they have a title fight they usually push both guys equally. So it definitely gives me motivation to want to go out there and beat him and show the point that they should've been showcasing me."
Shields finds himself in the unique situation of becoming a free agent after the fight, even if he remains the champion. Shields hinted during the interview that he would be interested in fighting for the UFC next.
"I just want to fight the best in the world," Shields stated. "Right now it's Henderson, who is one of the best in the world. So I have a huge test right now and I'm just worried about getting through that. If I do get through this test there's lots of, uh, like I said, I wanna fight the best. I mean, it doesn't mean I'm going to the UFC, but I would like to fight guys like Anderson [Silva] and GSP. That doesn't mean I'll get them for sure but those are some guys that I'd love to fight one day."
Despite the rampant criticism of Silva's performance last weekend at UFC 112, Shields feels that Silva is an amazing fighter and displayed some of that during last weekend's fight.
"You know, it wasn't Anderson's best performance but he still looked like a good fighter. You know, he really looked awesome in those first few rounds," he said. "The last two rounds I'm not really sure what happened. I'm not sure if he gassed...I'm not sure. I think he definitely should've fought harder in those last few rounds but regardless I think Anderson is an amazing fighter.
Shields faces Henderson at Strikeforce: Nashville on CBS this Saturday night for the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship.