Despite narrowly earning a split decision win over Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut, Jake Shields did just enough at Saturday’s UFC 121 to earn a promised shot at the welterweight title against the winner of December’s UFC 124 fight between champ Georges St-Pierre and Josh Koscheck.
“No matter where Jake’s fought, what he’s done, who he’s beat, and what he accomplished, it’s tough coming into the UFC for the first time,” UFC President Dana White commented. “He beat a tough guy tonight and got his first win under his belt. I don’t think any less of him today than I did yesterday.”
Shields, who gave up the Strikeforce middleweight title to join the UFC, got out to a strong start over Kampmann in his first welterweight fight in several years, but tired in the later rounds before hanging on for the win.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but that was the first time down at 170 (pounds) in a while,” Shields said. “I think I dropped too much weight. If that was a factor I don’t know, but I pulled out 20 pounds in a day. Will I do that again? Never.”