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Jake Shields not talking trash ahead of WSOF 34 but hopes to finish Jon Fitch early


Jake Shields isn’t one of the sport’s biggest trashtalkers by any means, but ahead of WSOF 34, the longtime veteran said there’s absolutely no way he can start in on WSOF welterweight champ Jon Fitch.

“He’s a guy I’ve got a lot of respect for, so I’m certainly not going to talk any (expletive) on Fitch,” Shields told MMAjunkie Radio. “He’s a great welterweight. He’s had a great career, and I think he’s still talented, so I’m excited to be fighting him for this title.

“It’s one of those fights I expected to happen years ago. I always thought me and Fitch wold fight, both being NorCal guys, both being top-5 welterweights most of our career, I’m surprised we haven’t fought before.”

Shields (31-8-1) challenges Fitch (28-7-1) for the belt on the NBC-broadcast main card of WSOF 34, which takes place Dec. 31 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The two fighters boast more than 31 combined years of professional experience in careers that have overlapped but now directly intersect for the first time.

“It’s a fight I’m excited for and definitely not a guy I’m looking past,” Shields said. “I think guys forget just how tough Fitch is. The guy goes out there and grinds his way to a win, but he always finds a way to win. I guess he’s not the best at any of the disciplines, but he’s good everywhere – great shape, mentally tough, and he goes out there and does not stop, so he’s a really dangerous opponent.”

Titles are nothing new for Shields, who previously earned belts around the world with promotions such as Strikeforce, EliteXC and Shooto. There’s little Shields hasn’t accomplished thus far in his career, but adding another title belt to the hardware collection is never a bad thing.

At 37, Shields knows those opportunities should be cherished, since he knows he can’t fight forever.

“I’m just taking it one fight at a time, but I feel like my body hasn’t slowed down at all,” Shields said. “I feel like I’m still fighting at the elite level and haven’t slowed down at all. If I start feeling like I’m slowing down, then that’s when I’ll retire. But I’m taking it one fight at a time at this point.”

And that one fight is for the title. Shields knows Fitch presents a grinding, blue-collar opponent, but he’s still hoping the two can combine for something special.

“It’s hard to predict what happens in a fight, but I would like to go out there and get right at it,” Shields said. “I want to go out there and try to end this fight and not let it go 25 minutes. No one wants to fight for 25 minutes. I want to go out there and hopefully submit Fitch early on.”

For more on WSOF 34, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show, available on SiriusXM Ch. 93, is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.



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