Despite an extremely impressive run outside of the UFC, Jake Shields has been a disappointment upon entering the organization. Shields compiled 14 straight wins, becoming the EliteXC welterweight champion, as well as the Strikeforce middleweight champion in the process.
His run includes wins over the likes of Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, Mike Pyle, Paul Daley, Robbie Lawler, Jason Miller and Dan Henderson.
Needless to say, there were extremely high expectation for Shields when he finally signed with the UFC and fought Martin Kampmann at UFC 121. Although he got the win via split decision, most were disappointed with his performance and some even felt he deserved the loss.
Still, Shields got his long awaited shot at long-time No. 1 welterweight Georges St-Pierre. Again, Shields didn't put on the most entertaining performance. GSP dominated the fight, despite getting poked in the eye.
Even with the loss, Shields was still ranked in the top three. The performance against Martin Kampmann was explained by a poor weight cut and, well, who doesn't lose to Georges St-Pierre?
Jake Shields was going into his bout with Jake Ellenberger as solid favorite and despite the passing of his father, most felt he was going to pick up the win and move towards another shot at the title. After all, the Cesar Gracie fighter has never lost two in a row.
Jake Ellenberger, however, proved to be a recipe for failure for Shields. Ellenberger showed his wrestling ability, able to easily shrug off his opponent's take-down attempts. On his first shot, Shields was tossed aside like a rag doll. On his second, Ellenberger easily got his under-hooks and remained on the feet.
Without being able to get to the ground, Shields was now going to have to deal with the immense power of Ellenberger. Despite being relatively unknown to the casual fan, "The Juggernaut" has knocked out four of his last five opponents. His only loss in the UFC came via split decision to perennial contender Carlos Condit in a bout that Ellenberger nearly finished.
Fifty-three seconds into the first round and the referee jumped in to stop the fight. Shields claimed he "still had some fight left," but his head was being beaten into the canvas with vicious shots that necessitated the merciful stoppage.
Just like that, Shields joins a long list of fighters that "couldn't make it in the UFC." Guys like Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva.
Jake Shields doesn't deserve to have his talent questioned because of a couple of losses, but it does prove that the top talent is in the UFC. Highly-touted fighters that are now entering the UFC from Strikeforce, like Alistair Overeem and Nick Diaz, may very well suffer the same fate.
People easily forget that Diaz lost three straight in the UFC earlier in his career. Alistair Overeem was finished in five out of seven fights just before his most recent run. Fans get mesmerized by long win streaks and spectacular knockout finishes, but they ignore the level of competition.
Sure, B.J. Penn is only 16-7-2 overall, but there's a reason why he's the favorite going into his bout with Nick Diaz. Mixed martial arts fans need to place less value in wins and losses and more value in good performances against good competition.