It’s finally official. Jake Shields has signed with the UFC, and is expected to make his debut against Martin Kampmann on Oct. 23 at UFC 121. Shields confirmed the news via Twitter earlier this afternoon.

UFC contract officially signed. Fighting Kampmann in CA in a few months. Thanks to @danawhite and everyone for their support.

Shields originally wanted to continue fighting at 185 lbs., but Shields’ father/manager said UFC officials ultimately talked him into moving back down to the welterweight division.

Image via Esther Lin for Strikeforce/Showtime

Update: Jake Shields comments on the signing in the official press release.

“I’ve pretty much been everywhere and held the title everywhere except the UFC, and there’s nothing like the UFC,” said Shields, a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt. “When I first started fighting, it was always where I wanted to be, and for whatever reason it kept eluding me. I think I’ve done everything in my career that I could do without being in the UFC, and now it’s my time to go in there and make a run in the UFC and I couldn’t be more excited.”

“I’ve got to see how things play out, but ideally I’d love to fight at both weights,” he said. “Guys like BJ Penn and Anderson Silva have made an example of it and they’ve both been pretty successful, and I think it’s great. I look for the fight more than the weight, but if I had to pick one weight, ’70 is probably my best weight, but I feel like I can fight at ’85 as well.”

“I think 170 is probably the toughest division,” he said. “Outside the UFC I never really got much competition there; that’s why I moved up. But I feel like it’s my time to drop back and drop into that mix. It’s loaded with top guys and I’m already training hard and getting ready because I know I’m going in there in a tough mix of people and I want to make a mark for myself.”

“Even though I’ve been fighting at a high level and a lot of the guys that I’ve beat have been UFC fighters, it’s not the same prestige as being in the UFC,” he said. “As they say, it’s the NFL of MMA. It’s the most prestigious, the most watched, and it’s the place to be. I’m ready to go out there, fight with the best of the best, and try to make a title run.”

“I don’t think I’ve hit my peak yet,” he said. “I think I keep getting better and better and the UFC is gonna be the show for me. I plan on coming out more aggressive and working on my standup, and I think I’m gonna go out there, start bringing the pressure, and just break everyone.”