Photo of Jake Shields via www.tigermuaythai.com.
"I'm already back in the gym trying to get better. I'm pushing my standup and every element of my game to become the best fighter I can possibly be. I'm hungry and I want to go out there and take somebody out. My striking still has holes, but it has gotten a lot better. I am going to continue to work and develop my skills and I believe in the next year I'll be able to stand with the best strikers out there. I still have a little ways to go, but we have definitely made big improvements. I came so close to the title and fell short. Now I feel like I'm close again. I've beaten the current (interim) champion, Carlos Condit, and Martin Kampmann, who is a top contender right now. I know I can beat these guys, and it all depends on me working my way back up and getting my shot. I'm not sure what's next, but hopefully the UFC will give me a contender so I can get back up where I want to be."
Former UFC welterweight number one contender Jake Shields, who got back into the win column against Yoshihiro Akiyama at last month's UFC 144 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Japan, is hungry to get back to the top of the 170-pound mountain, a place he's familiar with after gong five rounds at UFC 129 in a losing effort against Georges St. Pierre. Shields, who was pasted by Jake Ellenberger in September 2011, has long been criticized for his level of stand-up, but tells Heavy.com it has improved dramatically, to the point where he'll be able to stand and bang with the best strikers in the division over the next 12 months. Anyone out there think he's overstating his skill set? Or does he have the right trainers (and determination) to accomplish his goal?