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Shields: Crowd Support for Maia Won’t Make a “Difference”

Kelsey Mowatt

Jake Shields

If you watched yesterday’s weigh-ins in Barueri, Brazil, then it wasn’t particularly hard to determine who the crowd will be cheering for in tonight’s UFC FN 29 headliner. Of course, since Demian Maia is from Brazil and is one of the country’s biggest fighters, jaws would have dropped if his opponent Jake Shields had received more cheers.

While not every fighter gets fazed when they’re public enemy #1 at an event,  and some in fact thrive on it, others have admitted it can be somewhat unsettling. Since Shields has already headed to Montreal to face the city’s superstar Georges St. Pierre, and has been fighting for nearly 15 years, the renowned grappler is well accustomed to not being the home town favourite. That said, Brazilian fans are known to be particularly passionate about MMA…

In a recent interview with MMA, here’s what Shields had to say regarding whether he’s concerned about the reception he’ll receive at the Jose Correa Arena.

“I would rather have taken the fight in the U.S., but my job is to fight wherever I’m told to fight,” said Shields, who is coming off a split decision win over Tyron Woodley at UFC 161 in June. “This is a fight I liked, so I can’t turn it down just because it’s not where I want it to be.

“I’ve been through it so much. I think the Brazilians are a little louder and a little more hostile. They might yell a little bit and scream things like, ‘You’re going to die,’ so that’s not like Canada. But, ultimately, it’s not going to make much of a difference.”

Wow. ‘You’re going to die’? That’s harsh. Shields also noted that he’s spent extensive time training in Brazil, and that when he’s encountered fans they’ve been extremely “respectful.” Whether you’re a big fan of Shields or not, this is a guy who has lost just twice in approximately 9 years…

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