Friday, June 25, 2021

EXCLUSIVE: Jake Shields Responds To Dana White’s Criticism, Talks WSOF Debut Against Ryan Ford & More

The following is an MMANews.com exclusive interview with Jake Shields, who fights Ryan Ford this Saturday night at World Series Of Fighting 14: U.S. vs. Canada in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:

On his fight with Ryan Ford this Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for World Series Of Fighting 14 (airing live on NBC Sports Network at 9pm EST.):

“He’s a tough guy. He’s got a lot of knockout power and I think like 20 finishes, so he’s dangerous, but he also hasn’t fought the same level of competition as me. So, I think he’s someone I can beat, I just got to watch the big power and just go in there and put him away. Make a point. Make a statement.”

On his dealings with the guys at World Series of Fighting thus far and how many fights he signed on for with the promotion:

“So far it’s been great with the guys, they’ve been easy to work with. They’re a new promotion so it’s not as organized as the UFC. Obviously they’ve been around way less long, but they’ve been great to work with. Going to fight for them, that’s when you really see how things go, so hopefully the fight goes smooth and I can give you a better idea after the fight, but so far I’m happy with them. But yeah, I’ve got three-to-four fights.”

On fighting Ford in Ford’s hometown and always fighting guys on their home turf in the past:

“Yeah, obviously I’m gonna be in his home territory and I hear he’s popular up there, so I’m sure the crowd is going to be strongly against me. Obviously I’d rather have the home town advantage, but it’s something I can deal with. For some reason I just tend to never get to fight at home, you know? I always seem to fight Brazilians in Brazil, Japanese in Japan, Canadians in Canada and so I’m used to not being on home turf. So, I’ll just block the crowd out and try to go out there and do my thing.”

On the level of competition in his weight class in WSOF and some of the guys he’d like to fight in that promotion:

“Yeah, they have a stacked division in and around my weight, which is one of the reasons I made the choice to go to World Series of Fighting — I want to continue to fight top competition. Jon Fitch is someone I’ve wanted to fight for a while, [Rousimar] Palhares. I mean, the whole division is stacked.”

On the injury that forced him out of his originally scheduled WSOF debut against Jon Fitch back in July:

“Yeah, it was a minor injury. It was just one of those things where the timing wasn’t right. I think the fight that was coming up was just six or seven weeks away, but right now I’m 100-percent so I’m ready to go in there and fight. And yeah, Fitch is someone I’ve wanted to fight for years, so that’s someone I’m looking forward to fighting at some point.”

On his UFC release:

“Yeah, I certainly don’t think it’s fair. I had just beaten two top ten guys in a row before that, you know, being in the main event, so obviously I don’t think it’s fair, but it is what it is. It’s business, they run the show the way they want to run it, so there’s really nothing you can do about that. They’re trying to push more towards entertainment instead of making it a legit sport, but it’s their show, so it’s their decision.”

On the following comment made by UFC President Dana White when he was released from the promotion and if he’d like to prove him wrong: “He’s on the downswing and he’s never going to be the guy. His stand up never improved. He hasn’t really shown anything in his last couple of fights.”

“Yeah, definitely. I’d love to go out there and prove him wrong, you know? Especially considering the last two fights before that I beat two of his top ten ranked fighters, you know? His guys that were beating everyone else, but, you know, people say things like that. As we’ve learned, that’s the way Dana [White] is. He’s always out there trying to … he’s always … if it’s the right time he’ll try to say bad things about them, but as soon as it benefits him to say good things about you, he’ll switch it back. He just says whatever, you know? He’s an honest guy, he says whatever he thinks is good at the time.”

On if he wants to fight his way back to the UFC or if he’s content to continue his career outside the promotion:

“I’m content outside the UFC. I’m not saying I’d never fight for the UFC again, but at this point I’m content being outside the UFC. I just want to go out there and take it one fight at a time and see what happens.”

On being part of the current season of The Ultimate Fighter as part of Team Gilbert Melendez:

“It was really cool to go out there with Gilbert Melendez. I’ve been with him for I think 12 years or so. Being close to him, you know? I got him in the sport. He asked me to come out and help him coach, so of course I said yeah. It was fun being there with the team and Nate [Diaz], and it took a little getting used to to train girls because I’ve only ever trained guys, but I started getting the hang of it towards the end.”

More of this MMANews.com exclusive interview with Jake Shields is continued on page two …