This Wednesday night in Barueri Brazil, two of the finest grapplers and nicest guys in all of MMA, Jake Shield and Demian Maia, will square off in a very important welterweight match-up.
A win for Maia would put him at the threshold of a title shot. A victory for Shields should place his name on the division’s top ten rankings list and mark his name with contender status.
However, putting his upcoming bout aside and considering that of Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks, and their November 16th showdown in Las Vegas, Shields is picking the champ and for a couple of reasons; he thinks Rush is too good at what he does and more personally, he wants another crack at the champ and the belt, again.
As Shields remarked to MMAjunkie.com
"St-Pierre vs. Hendricks is a good fight. I think it's a really exciting fight and one I want to watch, but ultimately, I think 'GSP' is so good at what he does. He's such a smart fighter. I think 'GSP' will end up using his distance, range ,and end up taking Hendricks down and wearing him down and winning a tough fight.”
In considering Jakes thoughts on the fight, it’s a reasonable proposition that GSP will do as Shields predicts. However, I think “Bigg Rigg” deserves a little more credit, here and I don’t think the fight will be an easy one for GSP. In terms of taking Johny down, if it happens it’s not likely to happen until the championship rounds and even then, only if Hendricks’s gas tank gives. However, for the first three rounds of the fight, odds would be good that the champ will have to deal with the powerful wrestler using (only) his stand-up.
In terms of his own desires to re-match with St. Pierre and challenging for the belt again, Shields stated the why of it as such:
"I think 'GSP' is one of the greatest of all time; he's arguably the greatest of all-time. He always looks great, every fight, so to go out there and beat the guy? That's the guy I've wanted to fight for years. I fought him, and unfortunately I fell short. I would love to get another opportunity to fight him. I want to fight for the title again. That's why I'm fighting. This is a big fight and you never really know where you're at, but this would put me a lot closer."
On these notes, I’d be more than happy to see Shields get another title shot; GSP or no GSP.
Jake is an incredible fighter and actually fared well against Rush in their bout; more so than many had probably thought he would. His stand-up is not the prettiest in the world, but it has improved and his wrestling and ground games are certainly nothing to be sneezed at.
That said, he must first get by Demian Maia on Wednesday night and that’s not going to be easy.
Beyond that, there’s the real possibility that by the time Shields climbs the welterweight ladder again, that GSP may no longer be its resident champion and will have moved on to other opportunities.
Either way, GSP vs. Hendricks and Shields vs. Maia should all be great bouts.