Given that Jake Shields ditched his Strikeforce middleweight title and turned his back on the promotion in favor of signing a deal with the UFC you’d think that mentioning his name at one of their events would be considered a faux-pas.
Apparently Nick Diaz and Josh Thomson didn’t get that memo however as the recently departed fighter’s kept cropping up in their post-fight interviews.
“I think [Noons] sits there and trains on getting away and getting up and getting out. I do to. I mean a train with Jake Shields…(stifles laughter)…I mean he will, he will hold you down there,” Diaz joked at the post-fight press conference about Shields renowned blanket-like grappling ability.
Later Diaz brought up Shield’s name again and was more earnest in his praise for the fighter.
“I’m not Jake Shields…he’s an amazing fighter,” Diaz proclaimed to Sherdog.com regarding Shields wrestling while explaining why he himself had been hesitant to attempt to take the fight to the floor.
The Stockton native wasn’t the only fighter who was enthusing over the former Strikeforce star’s skills though. Early in his fight at the event Josh Thomson got caught in a tight looking guillotine by JZ Cavalcante, but at the post-fight press conference he insisted that it was nothing compared to what Shields can do.
“The guillotine was tight but it wasn’t like…I’ve been in Jake Shields guillotine. I know that Jake has got one of the best guillotine chokes around so it wasn’t like a panic mode…”
No doubt Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was inwardly cringing while Shields name kept dropping into the conversation, but one man who’ll have had a smile on his face was UFC boss Dana White.
In fact the timing couldn’t be better as Shields is currently gearing up for his UFC debut against Martin Kampmann in just a couple of weeks time at UFC 121 – something that Sherdog’s Greg Savage happily divulged to viewers while Diaz was praising his team-mate (presumably while Coker face-palmed somewhere just off-camera).
It’ll be interesting to see how Shields move pans out though. While it’s clear that he has the respect of his peers, his safety first, stifling wrestling strategy hasn’t always been a hit with the fans, and if he puts on a performance that attracts boos from the stands or has his 14 fight win streak broken by Kampmann on October 23rd then Coker may yet get the last laugh.