Photo of Jake Shields courtesy of Strikeforce.com.
"I'd love to disappoint the Japanese crowd, I plan to go out there and stop Akiyama. I feel the best I've ever felt right now. I feel stronger and faster, and as long as I can keep this going up until the fight, I'm ready to destroy. I want to start with Akiyama and get back on track. He's a good boxer, a good power-puncher and has world class judo. He's got good submissions too but he seems to be more of a knockout guy. It would be stupid to say I can't be submitted by him, but I'm unlikely to be submitted by him. Ideally I'll take him down into my world and submit him. He's a really hard guy to take down and he's got good boxing so I'm working lots of stand-up for this fight. In 2012 I want to be top contender again. I want a couple of big wins and have a title shot. I want everybody talking about how they want me to fight for the title in 2013."
Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields (via ESPN.co.uk) is looking to get back "into the mix" following a disastrous 2011 fight campaign. After stringing together 15 consecutive wins over some of the top names in all of mixed martial arts (MMA), the American Jiu-Jitsu grappler dropped back down to welterweight to make a run at the UFC title held by Georges St. Pierre. Instead, he ended up with a 1-2 record, including a high-profile technical knockout loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 25 back in September. Shields looks to get back into the win column against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 144 on Feb. 25 by "destroying" the sexy one. Anyone think he's still got the chops to do it?