Article by: Raquel Sanchez http://www.facebook.com/flygirlraquel
Photos by Tracy Lee @mstracylee
I’m pretty new to the MMA scene, so it’s perfect that I got
to interview first time UFC fighter Jake Shields. If you
didn’t know, Jake is no newcomer to fighting. He holds the current Elite XC
Welter-Weight title, the Strikeforce Middleweight
title, and has 25 wins, 4 losses and one draw. Jake has fought his way to the top and finally
gets his chance to take the next step at UFC 121 on Saturday October 23rd,
A couple weeks ago, we met Jake for a photo shoot in front
of a bright blue tile wall across the street from the Fairtex
Training Center in San Francisco. He was
still a little sweaty from sparring in the ring, and seemed anxious to get to
his strength & conditioning session. He trains two to three times a day
when getting ready for a fight; especially this one.
While he leaned against the blue backdrop, we spoke about
his rest and relaxation moments and his nine-year-old daughter-“On my down days I like to hit up the clubs
or hang out with my friends. I also spend
a lot of time with my daughter and go hiking or traveling because I love the
outdoors. Also, she does jiu jitsu
and really likes it.” Jake is very
close with his family; his father still is still his manager to this day.
Before his shoot, I got a chance to observe some his skills
in the ring live and in person. I can definitely see why he is fighting in the
UFC. Dancing around his training partner, Gilbert Melendez, Jake showed no
signs of hesitation and an eagerness to meet his match more than halfway. Since
coming into the UFC as a co-main event is virtually unheard of I'm told; let's
hope he takes that hunger into the cage with him on Saturday night.
At the ripe age of 31 and standing 5 feet 11 inches, Jake
Shields assured me that he is more than ready to fight in the UFC. His current weight was 192 pounds, meaning
that he needed to lose 22 pounds before this fight to make weight. The
discipline and dedication alone to drop that weight is admirable, not to
mention the amount of training he admits to get ready for this life changing
11 years ago, Jake happened to meet Chuck Liddell, before he
was really famous. With a smirk he tells me all about it- “ I was wrestling in college and met Chuck back when he was new to the
sport. Before he was really famous; he was just a funny looking dude with a mohawk as far as I was concerned. I didn’t really know much
about him. I went to his gym to check it out; he gave me a meeting and I was
like ‘wow this is cool.’ That is how I started training with him. He fought in
a couple UFC fights and everyone thought he really sucked. Once I started
training with Chuck, I got sucked in and that was it.” His sly smile while speaking told me that
he and Chuck Liddell must be really close friends.
After the photo shoot in SF, we followed Jake to his second work
out stop over at Diablo Barbell in Concord,
CA. As we drove into the parking lot, Jake
was running back and forth upon the narrow area of concrete. He was pulling a
sled, weighted with two 45lb weights.
As Tracy and I walked into the dark and grimy warehouse,heavy
metal and hard rock played over the speakers.
The high warehouse ceilings were covered in silver insulation. Two scary
looking pit bull dogs the size of small bears(one with his ears missing) immediately
came charging over to us and we calmly tried not to freak out! But like the fighters at the gym, these dogs
looked way more intimidating than they turned out to be. This was a serious power lifting gym with
many awards and trophies lining the walls; and Jake's workout continued through
a series of weightlifting and strength exercises;, I also noted the skulls
hanging from the ceiling. In spite of the intimidating and rough atmosphere of
the place, everyone there was super friendly and inviting (although they might
not want me to tell you that!)
We finally left Jake to finish his grueling workout regimen
and as I wished him good luck on his upcoming fight, I really thought about the
weight of this upcoming outcome. I am told that this first UFC fight will seal
the moment that will claim his career.
But to me, it seems that his years of wins, hard work, and dedication
have put him into a place where he can step up in any direction he wants. Jake Shields will take those long awaited
steps into the UFC ring for his debut this Saturday October 23rd, and
will go toe-to-toe against Martin Kampmann.
Q & A
HOW OFTEN DO YOU
TRAIN AND WORK OUT? - “A normal day
of training consists of waking up about 10am, eating breakfast and coffee. I will spar 5 or 6 rounds and hit the
pads. Then to the weight gym where the
conditioning starts. It varies, but
usually two to three sessions per day.
Total 5-8 hours a day. When I’m not training, I still train 5 to 6
days a week, twice a day.
OTHER THAN FIGHTING
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?- “Luckily, I
love fighting. Its one of my hobbies and
my career, so I’m really lucky to have that.
I like to travel a lot. Been all
over the world. Outdoor stuff Hanging
with my friends. Eating, I love to eat
when I’m not dieting. Right now eating
is not on my agenda getting ready for this fight.Most everything I do has to do
with fighting. I can take my tooth out,
but I don’t tell many people about that.
I keep that hidden.”
WHERE DO YOU FEEL
FIGHTING HAS TAKEN YOU?- “Its taken
me everywhere. All over the world. I’m
still figuring out where it will take me.
It’s been a great 11 years. I started with nothing. I was broke. I’ve got to see the world traveling. Now I’m making good money. I’m still along
for the ride. I still feel like I’ve got a long way to
go. I plan on doing big things in this
DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE
READY TO FIGHT GEORGE ST. PIERRE?-“Of
course. That’s why I came to the
UFC. That is why I fight. I didn’t come to be second best, I come to be
the best. I would have stayed at Strikeforce if I didn’t feel ready. Of course I’m ready for GSP.“
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ANYONE
DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD YOU FIGHT?“It
would be cool to fight guys like Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan. Some of
those old ancient conquerors, if you could take their weapons away.”
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO
FINALLY FIGHT IN THE UFC? “It feels great! It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been fighting in this sport for 11
years. I’m one of the most accomplished
fighters ever not fought in the UFC. To
be among those top guys, ranked number two and not fought in the UFC. To finally go in the big show and get more
credit, more respect, more attention.
It feels great to finally be with the best of the best.”