Jake Shields: 5 Fighters Who Should Be Next for UFC's Welterweight Contender
Following Jake Shields' devastating loss to hard-hitting Jake Ellenberger, many are wondering who the California-based fighter should fight next.
After being knocked out within the first round at UFC Fight Night 25, the New Orleans crowd would have been asking the following questions:
Should Shields' next bout be an easier fight to help him build up some momentum again?
Should Shields be thrown to the lions following the devastating loss of his father, followed by an untimely decimation at the hands of Ellenberger a mere three weeks later?
Here are the five fighters I think would be the perfect fit as Shields' next opponent in the UFC.
John Hathaway (15-1)
This would be a step up for the British welterweight, but "Hitman" Hathaway would be more than up for the challenge.
Hathaway has proven before that he relishes the role as an underdog after the relatively-unkown Englishman defeated Diego Sanchez in a dominant three-round performance.
The Brighton-born fighter has great wrestling and ground attacks for a fighter from across the pond, along with his Muay Thai skills honed at the renowned London Shootfighters gym.
Though his grappling acumen is nowhere near the level of Shields', Hathaway has the tenacity and drive to make this one interesting fight.
Rory MacDonald (12-1)
Rory MacDonald is widely thought to be the cream of the crop in terms of welterweight prospects.
Representing the new generation of solely MMA-trained fighters to come into the UFC, the 22-year-old former King of the Cage champion has made a big impression in his few UFC fights so far, losing in a back-and-forth bout against Georges St-Pierre's challenger for the 170 lbs belt, Carlos Condit.
Despite that loss, the Canadian has posted seriously dominating wins over talent such as Mike Guymon, Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle.
Training with GSP, MacDonald has formidable wrestling and takedown defense despite his lack of wrestling accolades.
Like Hathaway, MacDonald would be a young, hungry opponent for Shields to fight and would make for one amazing spectacle.
Matt Serra (11-7)
Many will feel that Shields vs. Serra would be a complete mismatch.
I, however, think this fight will be interesting for multiple reasons.
Former welterweight champion Serra has not fought for almost a year now, with his last fight being a loss to fellow veteran Chris Lytle.
Despite Serra's unflattering record of 11-7, Serra has fought no one but the best around. Being a supremely-gifted BJJ practitioner under Renzo Gracie, I think Serra's ground skills will match and negate Shields' main MMA strength—his grappling.
That should, in theory, leave these two fighters standing toe-to-toe in the Octagon. It would be a perfect opportunity for Shields to show off his striking skills, and everyone knows how much power Serra possesses in his fists.
You only need to ask Georges St-Pierre about that.
Diego Sanchez (23-4)
Diego Sanchez is one fighter who is as game as they come.
Another MMA practitioner who has fought nothing but the best around, Sanchez has unrivaled heart and tenacity.
He recently returned to Greg Jackson's training camp in Albuquerque and will be more skilled at all areas now than he ever has been before.
Shields should have an advantage in the grappling stakes, but Sanchez is no slouch in any area and could be more game than Shields on the feet.
Sanchez brings guts, heart and a solid chin to the table, which would make a great fight to watch.
Dong-Hyun Kim (14-1)
The Korean judo specialist is one tough opponent for anyone in the division.
Despite coming off a devastating KO loss to the seemingly-unstoppable Carlos Condit, the man from Busan has proven before that he has the chin, cardio and desire to comfortably outwork and outpace most fighters on the UFC welterweight roster.
Posting impressive, dominating wins over fighters such as Nate Diaz, Matt Brown and Amir Sadollah, Kim also happens to be a fourth Dan Judo black belt.
With an arsenal filled with an array of rarely-seen judo throws, Jake Shields' grappling assault could come unstuck at the hands of Kim, who was unfortunate to lose a decision against fellow judo specialist, Karo Parisiyan.
The decision was later overturned by the local athletics commission, as Parisiyan was found to have been taking three banned painkillers before their bout.