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Boring no more: Jake Shields set to rejuvenate his career by finishing Ryan Ford at WSOF 14

World Series of Fighting (WSOF) welcomes Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields to the fold later tonight (Sat., Oct. 11, 2014) in the main event of WSOF 14 as he takes on hometown hero and WSOF Canadian Welterweight Champion Ryan "The Real Deal" Ford. Seeking a big win in his WSOF debut, Shields sat down with to discuss his upcoming opponent, his title aspirations, and how he plans on ending his drought and finishing Ford spectacularly.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Shields has accomplished quite a lot in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, and yet the former Strikeforce middleweight champion seemingly cannot escape the criticism of fans denouncing his abilities, likely due to his lack of finishes over the last five years.

Ultimately, Shields' unappealing style led to his shocking release by the UFC this past April, even though he had a 2-1 record in his last three bouts inside the Octagon. A UFC loss soon became a World Series of Fighting (WSOF) gain, as they quickly scooped up the former champion in hopes of bringing even more name recognition to their stout welterweight division.

Shields apparently got the memo as well, as he is determined to finish Ford this evening, proving he is still among the best fighters in the world. Prior to his WSOF debut tonight (Sat., Oct. 11, 2014), Shields sat down with to discuss Ford's weak competition to date, why he holds no grudge against the UFC or Dana White, and why he believes it may not be good business for WSOF to be going head-to-head with UFC shows in the future.

His excitement to be a part of WSOF:

World Series of Fighting has been great to me thus far. It’s exciting to be a part of this organization and a part of this show. I am ready to go out there and put on a show against Ryan Ford. My training has gone well, and I am feeling great heading into this fight. I am going to put Ryan Ford away on Saturday.

Ford's paltry opponents to date, and why that will be an advantage for Shields come fight night:

Ford hasn’t fought the tough competition that I have. He’s fought a few tough guys, but nowhere near the level that I have. I definitely think my strength of competition gives me an advantage over him. I do think he is a tough fighter though, and I am definitely not looking past him by any means.

Truthfully, this is a tough fight for me. I am the bigger name, so I am the one with everything to lose, essentially. Ryan has everything to gain in this fight, so it’s tough. It makes it harder that he is a legit guy with some highlight-reel finishes, so he’s obviously dangerous. Thing is, I am a competitor. I am not here to dodge people and pick and choose my fights. I am always going to fight whoever they want me to fight because that’s who I am.

His opportunity to help bolster the WSOF roster, and specifically the welterweight division:

I think the WSOF has a pretty stacked welterweight division right now. The UFC obviously holds the name recognition, so it takes time to prove that other organizations can have deep divisions, too. WSOF has done a great job garnering name talent like Jon Fitch, Rousimar Palhares, me, and some very solid prospects like Ryan Ford, as well. This is a stacked division, and I am going to put on a great fight Saturday and help build it even bigger.

Why he doesn't hold a grudge against the UFC or Dana White:

Obviously, it wasn’t the best thing in my career to get cut by the UFC, but I’m not going to sit here and hold grudges. I talked to Dana afterwards. I was on the Ultimate Fighter with Gilbert Melendez, so why would I hold a grudge against them? I am going to just do my thing in the WSOF now.

Discussing how difficult it has been to finish fights as of late:

It’s multiple things, really. I definitely train hard in order to garner finishes in my fights, but sometimes it’s really tough to do. When you fight at the top level in this sport no finish will ever come easily. It is really a tough task to finish a fight. I’ve fought some very good defensive fighters as well, which makes it even harder. All I can say is that I am looking to break that streak this weekend by taking out Ryan Ford.

I've heard the critics, and I want to rejuvenate my career this weekend for sure. I plan on going out there and getting a big finish in exciting fashion over Ford. I want people to realize I am one of the best fighters in the world, still.

Reacting to Ford's confidence he receives from training at Tristar Gym:

Look, Ryan's definitely a tough guy, and having Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald as your training partners will definitely make a difference, but they won’t be in the cage with him Saturday night. I have fought the toughest competition this world has to offer, and I have only heard of two of Ford’s previous opponents, to be honest. Not to take anything away from him, but I think I am on a different level than he is and I plan to show that Saturday night.

Is a title shot looming?

I am focused 100-percent on Ford right now, but the most likely scenario is that I fight the winner of Fitch vs. Palhares for the title, once I beat Ford on Saturday.

Why he thinks WSOF should stray away from going head-to-head with UFC events:

Ideally, it’s probably a better idea to not go against the UFC head-to-head, but it’s tough because there are so many fight cards. At this point, the WSOF really doesn’t have an option other than to go against the UFC. At the end of the day, you can’t really argue that the UFC is clearly the most established organization whether you like it or not, and it is definitely smarter to try and avoid going head-to-head with them if you can.

Reminiscing on an eventful career:

I can’t really pinpoint one moment that was my favorite because I have had a lot of them in my career. It’s been a crazy journey throughout. I fought in Japan, I fought and lost to GSP in front of 60,000 fans, I beat Dan Henderson in Strikeforce, and so many more. There are just a ton of great moments for me, but I hope I have some more before it’s all said and done.

With the MMA community squarely focused on what each fighter has done as of late, a finish victory over Ryan Ford tonight could prove to be the spark Shields needs to return to elite form. If that's the case, the WSOF had a top 10 welterweight fall directly into their lap. will deliver live coverage of WSOF 14: "Shields vs. Ford" later tonight, with the first fight taking place at 7 p.m. ET and streaming LIVE on The televised portion of WSOF will air LIVE on NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET.

See you then!

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