Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields has officially signed with the UFC. The news was announced on the personal website of his trainer Cesar Gracie, along with confirmation that Shields would return to his “original fighting weight” of 170Ibs. It has seemed likely that Shields would eventually sign with the UFC ever since he appeared in public with UFC President Dana White at WEC 49, with Shields having expressed unhappiness with how Strikeforce treated him in the lead-up and aftermath of his successful title defense against Dan Henderson.
MMAWeekly reports that Shields may face Martin Kampmann in his promotional debut at UFC 121, with Kampmann saying “That would definitely be a good fight…he’s tough and he’s ranked real high in the welterweight division. For good reason, I didn’t expect him to beat (Dan) Henderson, he’s definitely good”.
Update: Ariel Helwani is reporting that UFC President Dana White has denied that a deal with Shields had been signed. White did confirm that negotiations had been taking place and that he was he confident of them being successful. When asked what was causing the delay in the talks, he simply said that such neogtiations ‘take time’. MMA Junkie is reporting that sources within the Shields camp have told them that terms have been agreed but the contract is yet to be finalized.