The co-main event at UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields will feature two fighters who share very similar profiles.
UFC Welterweight Champion Georges "Rush" St-Pierre is a holy terror when it comes to pursuing and securing takedowns, then abuses his unfortunate opponent with the skills of a master ground tactician. One of the most well-rounded gladiators in the sport, GSP gets the job done using any combination of his wrestling prowess to maintain control, his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to work submissions or some good ol' fashioned ground-"n"-pound.
The one hole in the Canadian's game is his striking, but it's not a gaping chink in the armor. That jab he broke out against Josh "Kos" Koscheck was savagely surgical, turning the right side of Josh's face into a bloated mess at UFC 124.
Much of the same praise (and criticism) can be lavished upon the man coming for GSP's strap, No. 1 contender Jake Shields.
One major—MAJOR—difference between the two, however, is the level of hype that each engenders.
Georges is arguably the most marketable competitor in the UFC stables, at least until Jon "Bones" Jones' next appearance. Everywhere the 29-year-old goes, hysteria follows...OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.
On the other hand, Jake Shields walks around in a cocoon of relative anonymity.
It's no coincidence that the UFC 129 promotional reel shows Shields without the glitz or glamor. I've shared planes with Jake, and the only person who approached him was a nurse who had worked on one of his cuts way back when.
But that could all change in the space of 25 minutes (or less).
Because there's a reason many close observers of the sport are tabbing Jake to pull off the upset—the 32-year-old is a bad, bad man. Even if the casual MMA fan doesn't believe it.
In an effort to counter that perception, let's meet the most underrated fighter in mixed martial arts.