UFC Welterweight Jake Shields came into mixed martial arts via wrestling. Shields began wrestling at the age of nine, and has compiled a list as long as your arm of prominent wins and titles. Shields would wrestle all through high school and earn a slot in not only the FILA Junior world trials but also the FILA university world team trials. His grappling acumen also later earned him a 2005 gold medal at the Pan American Championships and a 2005 bronze medal at ADCC. Shields would eventually combine his wrestling along with his jiu jitsu and various forms of grappling to put together a system he calls American Jiu Jitsu. In 1999 his love of combat sports would lead him to UFC star Chuck Liddell’s SLO Kickboxing Academy, and in less than a few weeks he took his first professional fight.
Shields would pick up two wins in 1999, and would suffer his first career loss in March of 2000. It wasn’t until 2001 where Shields hit his stride and went undefeated in the local circuit around southern California. Shields would only fight twice in 2002, losing one by decision and winning one by decision. Shields was signed to a deal to fight under the Shooto banner, and by his third fight he picked up the welterweight belt with a decision win over Akira Kikuchi. Shields would then have a rematch with Ray Cooper for the world Shooto belt, but this time it was Shields who came out on top with a first round submission. Shields would fight Kikuchi for a second time, but lost the title via decision.
After the Kikuchi loss, Shields would go undefeated for 5 years. Shields would fight all over the world picking up wins over future stars like Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit, and Mike Pyle. Shields was picked up by upstart promotion Elite XC and pick up first round stops over Pyle, Nick Thompson and Renato Verissimo. His win over Thompson would earn him the welterweight title which he later defended against British knockout artist Paul Daley. Shields was then signed to Strikeforce where he began fighting at middleweight. Shields would go undefeated in the promotion winning the vacant middleweight belt over Jason Mayhem Miller, and eventually defending it in five round decision win over Dan Henderson.
Shields entered the UFC by way of the merger of Strikeforce and the UFC. Shields debuted at UFC 121 where he picked up his first UFC win over martin Kampmann in a title eliminator bout. Shields would then fight UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, but like many before him, he would lose by unanimous decision. Shields would drop his next fight as well to Jake Ellenberger, but he got back in the winning column with a win over Yoshihiro Akiyama when the UFC returned to Japan for the first time in years. Shields would then earn a decision win in the middleweight division over Ed Herman at UFC 150, but later had the result overturned to a no contest when it was revealed that he failed his post fight drug test. Shields returned to welterweight at UFC 161 and picked up a narrow split decision over Tyron Woodley.
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