UFC welterweight title challenger Jake Shields is no stranger to disrespect.
Despite holding the Strikeforce middleweight championship, the Cesar Gracie fighter was barely marketed for his first title defense in 2010 against Dan Henderson. As it turned out, Shields dominated the former two-time PRIDE champion and subsequently high-tailed it over to the greener pastures of the UFC.
While Jake has been smartly marketed plenty, there's also been much talk about Georges St. Pierre moving up to middleweight and challenging Anderson Silva.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Shields may not have looked like a million bucks against Martin Kampmann in his Octagon debut, but he was still able to mount the Dane, seemingly at will, and as Shields mentioned on the UFC 129 conference call today, he's more acclimated to fighting at welterweight now.
"I had the weight in check a long time ago. I was 182 this morning which means a nice, easy cut. It won't be a problem. I made a huge mistake last time, coming in heavy and the cut sapped my energy. I learn from my mistakes so I'm certainly not going to do that again."
Shields has been wanting to fight GSP for four years. He's always wanted to test himself against the best and St. Pierre is excellence personified. The American grappler discussed what exactly it is about his style that makes it so unique from the other opponents that "Rush" has faced before.
"I was a wrestler in college and I found Brazilian jiu jitsu and fell in love with it. I started mixing Brazilian jiu jitsu and wrestling. I found the two and fused it which makes me more dangerous for mixed martial arts...There's nobody that fights the way I do. There's similarities and the same for Georges. I couldn't find the perfect sparring partner for him either."
What sets Shields apart from his contemporaries is his determination. He's been put in precarious positions in the past and he just keeps pressing forwards.
"I mentally refuse to lose. I've got my heart and conditioning. I think my grappling is above every other opponent he's faced. With Georges, there are very few holes in his game. Of course he does still have his weaknesses."
No one in UFC history will have more fans cheering against them than Jake Shields next Saturday night. The Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada will be packed to the gills with 55,000 strong and they will be raucously supporting their hometown hero, St. Pierre. The American, though, is no stranger to fighting in front of hostile crowds.
"I fought the Japanese in Japan but they're not a loud crowd. I fought Robbie Lawler in his hometown but it wasn't nearly as crazy as Toronto will be. It could work either way. I've never had 55,000 people booing me. It could make me fight harder, it could screw GSP up and make him nervous."
The title challenger from California has been there and done that in his mixed martial arts career. Despite what's at stake, despite the record crowd, he's not expected to get surprised next Saturday night.
[My past experience] gives me a lot of confidence. I've been in deep water, I've been in wars. I've done the same things. It's nothing new to me. I've been to Toronto before and they love fighting up there. It'll be a very enthusiastic crowd. You never know what's going to happen but me and Georges are prepared for an absolute war.
Confidence ... or delusions of grandeur?