by:  Matt De La Rosa

Jake Shields was arguably the most talented fighter on Pro Elite’s roster.

Now that the company has closed its doors Shields will undoubtedly be looking to sign with a promotion where he can truly test his skills.

While his status within the 170 pound division is cemented in the minds of hardcore MMA fans, he has yet to tap his full potential.

In order to reach that point, he will have to take a huge step up in competition.

He could sign with Affliction but after one bout with Jay Hieron he would have faced and most likely defeated the best they have to offer.

He could move up to 185 but Shields legacy will be established by fighting the best at 170.

Due to the lack of competition Shields has faced in the past two and a half years, it is hard to judge how he stacks ups against the UFC’s talent pool.

If he wants to be able to look back at his career without any doubts, signing a ZUFFA contract will put those questions to rest.

Fans and the MMA media have constantly pondered how Shields would fair against the GSP’s and Jon Fitch’s of the world.

The less than stellar talent roster Pro Elite had to offer caused those questions to only grow larger.

Despite never stepping into the Octagon, Shields earned his spot among the top ten welterweight.

Victories over Kazuo Misaki, Akira Kikuchi, Carlos Condit and Hayato Sakurai prove Shields is deserving of his vaulted standing within the welterweight division.

His ground game is nothing short of superb and his striking has grown leaps and bounds since bursting onto the scene at Shooto back in 2002.

That being said, Shields is knocking on the door of 30 and no longer has the luxury of floating around in smaller promotions during the prime of his career.

The problem Shields has encountered the past few years is he has been the victim of a cornered market.

The old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them join them.” In Shields’ case he must “join them so he can beat them.”

Virtually every top ten list shows Shields as the only ranked welterweight not under the Zuffa umbrella.

It is time for Shields’ talent to stop being wasted against the Ido Pariente’s and Steve Berger’s of the world.

He must introduce himself to the likes of Josh Koscheck and Thiago Alves in order to see if can reach the top of the welterweight mountain.

Now is the time for Shields to write the decisive chapter of his career.

One thought on “The legacy of Jake Shields”
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