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Jake Shields Signs with UFC, Returning to Welterweight

Jake Shields Weigh-inFormer Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields has officially signed with the UFC and will return to the welterweight division to make his UFC debut against a 170-pound contender, Shields’ trainer, Cesar Gracie, announced today

After winning and defending the welterweight title in EliteXC, Shields (25-4-1) was picked up by Strikeforce in 2009 and stopped middleweight contender Robbie Lawler in his Strikeforce debut last June.

Shields won the vacant 185-pound title with a unanimous decision over Jason “Mayhem” Miller in November, then topped UFC veteran Dan Henderson in April for his 14th-straight win.

Because his contract lacked a ‘champion’s clause’ that would have kept him with Strikeforce, Shields became a free agent following his win over Henderson and the UFC immediately emerged as the front-runner to sign him.

Strikeforce officially released Shields earlier this month and will crown a new champion when Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza square off on August 21 at “Strikeforce: Houston“.

Details on Shields’ UFC debut are expected to be announced soon, with potential opponents likely including Martin Kampmann, who defeated Paulo Thiago in June, or the winner of a UFC 117 bout between contenders Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves.

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