EXCLUSIVE | Jake Shields discusses his future in fighting

Jake Shields

Jake Shields doesn’t know what his future holds.

Shields most recently fought for PFL this year in which he lost to Ray Cooper III back in late October. Since the loss, Jake has been contemplating his future.

“I’m in a kind of unsure phase right now. I’m just kind of waiting to get through the holidays, Christmas and New Year’s, and then I’ll take it from there. I still like training and enjoy the sport,” Jake Shields said to BJPENN.com. “I don’t want to make a decision so quickly, I want to sit down and give it a thought. I am still under contract for one more season (with PFL), so we’ll see how that goes.”

Ultimately, Jake Shields has had an incredible mixed martial arts career. The 39-year-old was a Strikeforce middleweight champion, a former Elite XC welterweight champion and a former UFC title challenger. He holds a professional record of 33-11-1 with one no-contest. Being that he is one of the best fighters to ever step foot in the cage, no matter what happens next, Jake Shields will be very satisfied with his career.

“I have had a great career beating guys like Tyron Woodley, I have beaten five UFC champs so that is a good feeling,” Shields added. “Memories that really stick out is fighting GSP in front of 60,000 fans, that was awesome. Beating Dan Henderson for the Strikeforce middleweight title. I had a lot of good memories in my career.”

Although those are great memories, Shields main goal throughout his career was to fight Georges St-Pierre. He moved down from middleweight to fight St-Pierre and ended up going the distance with him. Even though he lost, his stock did nothing but grow after going toe-to-toe with one of the all-time greats for twenty-five minutes.

“I wanted to fight GSP. He was the top guy and the top pound-for-pound guy and he was the guy I really wanted to fight for a long time. In my mind, it made sense to drop down and fight him,” Shields said. “I had a really close fight with him. I think I won the last two rounds and unfortunately, he started off better than me. It was cool to go fight him because I think he is the greatest welterweight of all-time.”

Ultimately, Jake Shields and Georges St-Pierre went there own ways after the fight. Shields never got another UFC title shot, while GSP went on to dominate the division. Shields eventually left the UFC and began fighting for other promotions.

Now, eight years later, nothing has really changed for Jake Shields. He still loves to train every day and compete, which is why he may still indeed fight in 2019. Shields trains in California with the Diaz brothers and in New York under the Gracie banner.

I still train all the time, it is still my job,” he added. “I just don’t train with the same intensity, a lot less sparring, a lot of pad work.”

If he does come back and fight in 2019, he may return to PFL, but if he doesn’t, he has another promotion in mind, Bellator MMA.

Jake Shields worked with Scott Coker in Strikeforce and the two immediately got along well. If fighting for Bellator is something Coker is open too, Shields would be quick to answer.

“Definitely. They seem to have a lot of momentum and me and Scott Coker got along good before,” he said. “It is not something I would rule out because Bellator seems to be getting bigger and bigger. It is a good time for them.”

Jake Shields is grateful for the career he has had. He earned a world championship and fought some of the greatest fighters ever, in the best promotions. Looking back, he was glad he became a fighter because it allowed him to travel the world and showcase his skills.

For now, Shields just continues to train with his fighting future uncertain. One thing is for sure, if this is the end, Jake Shields had one hell of a career.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/17/2018.