Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields has been around the block once or twice during his 14-year mixed martial arts (MMA) career, facing some of the biggest names the sport has to offer including Dan Henderson, Carlos Condit and current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion, Georges St. Pierre.
So when he was paired up against 12-fight veteran Tyron Woodley, Shields wasn't exactly jumping for joy because he was expecting to draw a "huge name" opponent.
Woodley, however, received just what he asked for.
And while the wrestling powerhouse doesn't exactly have the draw power similar to that of "The Natural Born Killer" or "Hendo," he does pose a legit threat for Jake, or any other foe, for that matter.
Regardless, Shields isn't looking past "T-Wood," labeling him a "respectful" and "worthy" opponent. But when the two welterweights collide in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on June 15, 2013 at UFC 161, Jake knows he has Woodley beat in all areas of the fight game.
His words to Rick J. Lee:
"I think Tyron, he's a tough guy, but I have a lot more experience. Great wrestler, All-American wrestler, heavy hands. He's a tough guy but I think I have a lot more experience and just advantages everywhere. Wrestling is pretty even but I think striking I can beat him, I can beat him on the ground and tap him. I feel like it's my time. I want to go out there and bring a lot of pressure and break him. His jiu-jitsu is not bad but I don't think it compares to mine. He does have five or six submission wins so he isn't someone I'm looking at as no jiu-jitsu. I just think he's clearly not at me level, though. I was a little surprised at Tyron Woodley, I was hoping to fight someone in the top five like Ellenberger again or Condit or Rory MacDonald. I was hoping to get one of those huge names but Tyron Woodley is a respectful opponent. I think he's ranked around 10 or somewhere around there. He's coming off a big knockout, he certainly a worthy opponent so I can't complain about the fight. He's coming off a huge win over Jay Hieron. He came out and dropped him right away and put him down, so he showed he deserved big fight by that win. I think I'm a big step up in competition for him but he's earned his shot. I need to go out there and not only win the fight but also finish him. I want to go out there and win by either knockout or submission."
Shields revealed he will stay in the 170-pound weight class moving forward after jumping back and forth to the 185-pound division. Most recently, "The Skrap Pack" member defeated Ed Herman at UFC 150 in a middleweight bout, but the fight was overturned to a "no contest" after Jake tested positive for a prohibited substance, which also led to a six-month suspension.
Woodley, on the other hand, stormed out of the gate (literally) in his Octagon debut, knocking out Jay Hieron in 36 seconds of the opening frame at UFC 156. That impressive performance is how Shields believes Woodley "earned his shot" against him.
And while Jake hasn't finished an opponent in over three years, he's determined to not let his collision against "T-Wood" go the distance, declaring he will be looking to "knock him out or submit him" in Canada.
Anyone think he can do it?