UFC 129 Fight Card: Would a Jake Shields Victory Finally Validate Strikeforce?

Will AndersonCorrespondent IApril 30, 2011

HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 17:  Strikeforce World Middleweight Champion Jake Shields attends the CBS' Strikeforce MMA Fighters Open Media Workout on March 17, 2010 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
Valerie Macon/Getty Images

 Last night I watched the latest installment of UFC Primetime.

I'm beginning to think that we should start calling it "The hype show for GSP's matches" but never the less, I was intrigued at how the production team at the UFC and Spike would try to spin the upcoming match up between current welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and former Strikeforce Middleweight champ Jake Shields. 

Since his arrival in the UFC last year, MMA fans have been chomping at the bit to see Shields take on the promotion's current poster boy. There are many fans who actually would go as far as to say that Shields isn't on the same level as GSP, and that Strikeforce fighters in general are simply inferior to their more popular counterparts in the UFC. 

With a hard fought debut victory over Martin Kampmann at UFC 121, Shields has a huge opportunity to unseat "Rush" as title holder.However, what many people don't realize is that the a Shields victory would immediately raise the stock of the Strikeforce roster quite a bit. 

When you have a Heavyweight champ who only defends his title once in three years, and a welterweight champion who's just as comfortable throwing punches inside the cage as he is outside of it, the perception of the Strikeforce roster can be seen as mediocre by some. 

So now as we are less than 24 hours away from what is the biggest event in North American Mixed Martial Arts history, and as the most dominant Welterweight in the sport looks to finally clean out his division, where does this leave his vastly underrated opponent?

Jake Shields, 31, has a tall order ahead of him. Everyone is counting him out, everyone is assuming that he will be overwhelmed by GSP, everyone is believing that Shields just doesn't have what it takes.

However, if all the doubters continue to add fuel to Shields' proverbial fire, and he is able to beat the great GSP, there would be a significant shift in thought about what Strikeforce fighters can do in the Octagon.  

A Shields victory while bad for the UFC, finally begins to open the doors of thought that maybe the best fighters in the world aren't stationed in the house that Zuffa built. 

UFC 129 St-Pierre vs. Shields: Fight Card, News, Predictions, Results, and More!