April 17th Jake Shields takes on Dan Henderson in a middleweight fight for the Middleweight Championship. Jake is currently in the Strikeforce promotion and the question is does he stay with the company after his fight?
Jake's contract will be expiring after this fight and he has been heard through sources and himself that he wants to explore free agency. Jake's last fight I saw was in Chicago and that was against Jason Miller for the vacant Middleweight Title. Jake looked really strong and even though he came out with unanimous decision there was plenty to be amazed by.
Jake's submissions preferably his guillotine choke is deadly and ended his last couple of fights with this very move. Jake is well known in the MMA and the UFC would be an excellent place for him to sign.
Dana White has said that he would love to see Jake Shields in the UFC and I doubt he will get into a bidding war with Strikeforce. Jake Shields would be a great addition to the middleweight division and could make some memorable fights.
The question is though does Jake want to leave his belt (on the basis he retains his belt) and move onto The UFC and start on the bottom of the food chain. Does Jake really want to take that risk and be signed to a 3 or 4 fight deal and possibly not due enough in the eyes of The UFC? Jake has plenty of talent and in his last 6 fights he has finished them with a submission. His ground game has improved over the years and really has focused on his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Besides his fighting background he has started his coaching career as well.
When The Ultimate Fighter 11 begins Jake will be besides Chuck Liddell as a grappling coach. Could this be the subdual hint that he wants to be in the UFC? I think it's a great way to step his foot into the door and really interact with the UFC wrestlers and preferably Dana White. If this is a step that Jake wants to take before possibly signing with the company then I think it's the best route for him.
So what does happen with Jake Shields after April 17th? Does he take his time and sort out all of his options before making a decision? Whatever company Jake Shields decides to sign with there will be a massive following by MMA fans wondering who will Jake fight next and where.