Former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields has been around the sport of MMA long enough to know that the crowd doesn’t have a fight inside the Octagon.
While they can cheer all they want for their favorite, it comes down to the two trading blows.
In October, Shields (28-6-1) will be a hated man when he faces Demian Maia in Sao Paulo, Brazil at UFC Fight Night 29.
“The Brazilian atmosphere is intimidating and enthusiastic, and it makes for an excellent atmosphere,” Shields said. “But once I get in the Octagon, I’ll be focused and ready.”
Since making a failed bid at the UFC welterweight title, and a one-off run at middleweight, Shields has turned his focus back to 170 pounds. He bested Tyron Woodley earlier this year, and can stop the four-fight win streak of Maia (18-4) with a victory later this year.
“Fighting Demian on his home turf will not be an issue,” Shields said. “His strengths are obvious; he’s the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu martial artist in my division. His weakness is his standup.”
While that might lead some to believe Shields, also a decorated ground-game fighter, would prefer to keep it standing, he doesn’t see it that way.
“I want to beat him at what he’s best at,” he admitted.