UFC welterweight Jake Shields (26-6-1) is the latest world-class athlete to take his talents to Florida.
This past October, Authentic Sports Management announced the signing of Shields, who joins the likes of former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, Kenny Florian, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Danillo Villefort and Melvin Guillard, to name a few who have signed with the premier sports management and marketing company.
While the decision was tough for Shields, joining forces with president Glenn Robinson and Authentic Sports Management provided the American jiu-jitsu black belt the opportunity to move forward with his career and continue his growth as a professional athlete.
“Well, it’s always a tough choice choosing your manager,” Shields recently told BleacherReport.com. “There’s lots of things that factor and for me, it just seemed like they cover everything and it seemed like a good environment. So, everyone got along and they treat you well. They cover all aspects between obviously the fights, the sponsors, the fight contract, as well as helping out with training and PR and anything else. He’s willing to go out and help.”
Shields began his career by going undefeated in 1999 and has since defeated 50 percent of his opponents by submission or knockout.
While his 2011 campaign hasn’t been ideal, the 12-year veteran hopes to find out who his next foe will be in the near future and return to his winning ways.
“I’m just trying to get back on track, I had a little setback and just trying to bounce back,” Shields said. “Some time to restructure some things and figure out what I’ve done wrong and correct that. So, right now I’m taking it one step at a time and I’m looking for my next opponent. I started training again and (I’ll) go out there and talk to Glenn about who we want to go after and talk to the UFC and hopefully in the next week, I’ll have an opponent set up.”
With Shields’ long-time teammate Nick Diaz recently joining the UFC welterweight roster alongside younger brother Nate Diaz, and UFC President Dana White stating his desire to see Gilbert Melendez inside the Octagon in the near future, the four talented Cesar Gracie fighters are all close to joining forces in the sport’s premier organization.
As for Shields, it’s an exciting time seeing his close friends and teammates achieve success.
“It’s great, I think we’ve all been fighting together for so long and we all pretty much came from absolutely nothing and to see each other rise in different levels. Different guys with different levels of fame throughout the way, but at this point it’s like me, Gil, Nick, and Nate are all hitting a really good point. I’m coming off a loss of course, so that ain’t great, but other than the whole team is.
“I just had a ton of publicity from the GSP (Georges St. Pierre) fight and Nick Diaz is going to be having that same thing fighting GSP, I’m glad he back that. Nate Diaz is in the co-main with “Cowboy” (Donald Cerrone at UFC 141), Gil Melendez fighting for a title, so it’s just great to see all these guys I’ve been fighting with for 10 plus years really at top right now.”
With Shields’ teammates all being scheduled for upcoming fights, he hopes to secure a date in February for his return to action.
UFC 143 on February 4, alongside teammate Nick Diaz, who challenges welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre would be a perfect fit.
“I haven’t really been thinking about my opponents, I’ve been trying to figure out what weight I’m going to go at. Because cutting that weights big and I’m kind of small for 85, so I’ve been lifting a little bit and seeing how I feel. I don’t have a date, but I was thinking February, that’s up to the UFC, but I was going to throw it out there and tell them I’d like to fight sometime around February and see what they say from there.
“It’d be great to fight the same time as Nick. It makes it easier, we can train together and get ready together. It’s always nice when we fight at the same time.
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