Jake Shields won 15 consecutive fights between Nov 2005 and Oct 2010, fought everyone, everywhere, and went on to prove the superiority of American jiu-jitsu.
Former Strikeforce middleweight champion
MMA debut: October 1999
Record: 31-9-1 (1NC)
Notable wins: Dan Henderson, Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit
5) Hayato Sakurai
Shooto: Year End Show 2002
Shields: Many people now might not know who he is, but at the time I fought him he was the number two-ranked fighter in the world. I was completely unknown. I was a young kid. They brought me out to Japan on two weeks’ notice to lose to him. I went out there and pulled a big upset and beat Sakurai in Shooto. Anderson Silva was ranked number one and he was number two. I was nowhere near the rankings so to go out there and beat him was huge.
4) Yushin Okami & Carlos Condit
Rumble on the Rock 9
Shields: That was the Rumble on the Rock tournament. It’s two, but in the same night so I think that should count. I was broke at the time. It wasn’t much of a purse. I think it was $40,000 to win it. I felt rich all of a sudden. There wasn’t much money to be had in fighting at the time. I was like, ‘Yeah! I got money now!’ I bought a car and just lived off it so I could keep training. I didn’t have to get a real job, so I could train full-time. It was tiring. I had a war with Okami. I think Condit had an easy fight in the first round and then I had another war with him. It was tough. My friends dragged me out partying that night. I just wanted to go to sleep.
3) Dan Henderson
Shields: That was a big one. I was a big underdog and I went in there and dominated Henderson. It was great. He is a bigger guy. They brought him in there because they knew I was leaving for the UFC. They wanted Henderson to come in there and beat me so I would leave on a loss. To go out there and dominate him was a great feeling.
2) Georges St-Pierre
UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields
Shields: There were sixty thousand people in the Skydome. The UFC title was on the line. It was a close fight. I ended up losing a close decision. I could have pushed more in the earlier rounds. I started winning the later rounds. He won the first two rounds. It was one of those really close fights. GSP is a tough guy to beat. GSP is one of the greatest to ever live. Even though I lost that one it was a great experience. I could have done better but, overall, I don’t think I did badly.
1) Demian Maia
UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields
Shields: To beat him was special. Being a top jiu-jitsu guy everyone wanted to see who has the best jiu-jitsu in MMA. Maia is one of my favorite fighters. He is one of the top guys in the world. Even though it was a close fight, to go out there and beat him felt great. I have fought guys like Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler, too. I have quite the history. I never got that padded record. Looking back, maybe I should have fought some easier fights!