Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jake Shields Interview

Ben Zeidler recently spoke with EliteXC star Jake Shields about his big wins over Carlos Condit and Hayato Sakurai, being a fighter while having a daughter, and oh yeah, his open challenge to Georges St. Pierre.

Ben Zeidler: You were born in San Luis Obispo, California. Is that how you got involved with Liddell's SLO Kickboxing Academy?

Jake Shields: Well, I was actually born closer to the Sierras…

Ben Zeidler: Wikipedia gets me again.

JS: (Laughs) So yeah, I was born up there but I moved down to San Luis Obispo for college. I started working out at Liddell’s gym when he wasn’t well known at all.

Ben Zeidler: How'd you make the transition from wrestling and grappling tournaments to mixed martial arts?

JS: I wrestled all throughout high school and college. I was with Liddell for just a few weeks before he had me doing kickboxing and some MMA stuff. All of a sudden, I was fighting real fights.

Ben Zeidler: You're a shooto world champion. For those who don’t know what that is or what it entails, can you tell us a little bit about that?

JS: Sure, shooto is worldwide and its one of the oldest organizations out there. It’s even older than the UFC. It’s not quite MMA, but it is still a combat sport and it’s very respected in the world. I was the first American to win a shooto belt.

Ben Zeidler: You've beaten some of the biggest guys in the sport, from Carlos Condit to Hayato Sakurai. What would you call the biggest win of your career?

JS: I haven’t had it yet. I’m just getting started here and before I’m done I plan on being the best.

Ben Zeidler: Are you happy with EliteXC or would you ever consider a jump to the UFC?

JS: I mean, I’m always looking at my options and I just want to fight the best. Elite has been really good to be so I have loyalties there, but I do want to continually be upping the competition that I face.

Ben Zeidler: Do you have any upcoming fights booked?

JS: Nothing is signed yet, but I’m looking to fight in March or early April at a couple of different venues.

Ben Zeidler: Who do you want to fight?

JS: It’s sort of out of my hands, but if I could choose, I’d say GSP. He’s my number 1 pick.

Ben Zeidler: You haven't lost in over three years. What in your training is responsible for this recent success?

JS: It’s a combination of things. I just trained really hard, for starters. I never feel like I’m good enough either. I feel like I gassed in my last fight, even though I won, so I’m working on cardio. You can’t beat cardio. I’m learning new techniques, new submissions, and new things. It’s a sport where there’s always so much more to learn.

Ben Zeidler: You're still just 27 years old. Have you hit your peak?

JS: I still feel really young and I have a few years before I hit my peak. I don’t want to retire as long as I want to keep fighting.

Ben Zeidler: I’m sorry, I gotta go back to that GSP comment. How would a fight like that even happen?

JS: Hopefully, the organizations can work together to make it happen. Either I could go to the UFC or he could come here. I really want to see how we can make this work.

Ben Zeidler: You're involved with Fairtex-Gracie in SF and Tulsa Top Team. Can you tell us a little bit about those organizations?

JS: Well my main trainers run MMA programs at Fairtex. That’s kinda my own group over there. At Tulsa Top Team, it’s just some guys who train with me.

Ben Zeidler: Let’s change gears for a second. How's your daughter doing? How has life changed for you since having a child?

JS: My daughter is great but lots of work, so I’m always training but I’m trying to do fewer trips. She’s in first grade now, so it’s just cool to have a daughter.

Ben Zeidler: That’s gotta be interesting when she tells her friends parents that her dad fights for a living.

JS: Yeah, she knows I’m a fighter and she grew up watching it so to her, it’s nothing unusual. I’ve never brought her to a fight but she’s seen some jiu-jitsu tournaments. Eventually, she’ll realize that I don’t have a normal job, but it’s just what I do.

Ben Zeidler: Any sponsors you'd like to thank or websites you’d like to plug?

JS: I’d like to thank Fairtex, Stagger, Dominant, and…I know there’s more. Who else? I’m spacing on one (laughs)…they’ll be mad.

Ben Zeidler: Anything to say to your fans?

JS: Just thanks for all the support and keep watching me because I’m gonna do some big things.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


After interviews with Dan Henderson and Tito Ortiz, there was only one thing left to do: call Chuck Liddell. The definitive fist of the UFC for the last five years, Chuck is rebounding off of a loss to Rampage Jackson (after three straight years of winning) and talks to us about his training, fighting Wanderlei Silva, Dana White, and his stint on Entourage. An Interview By Ben Zeidler

Ben Zeidler: Did you feel that you weren't aggressive enough against Rampage? Would you fight the fight any differently if you could go back?
Chuck Liddell: No, I was planning on frustrating him a little and making him come after me a little more, and he just happened to catch me before I got the chance to completely carry out that game plan.

BZ: Rampage seems to have your number. Do you think you can beat him?
CL: Yes I do, I definitely do!

BZ: Can we get a prediction for the Rampage-Henderson fight?
CL: I think Henderson is tough, really tough. it will be interesting to see how he will do against Rampage though.

BZ: Henderson's never been knocked out.
CL: Wait, has Hendo been knocked out before? How did Wanderlei win the first time they fought?

BZ: Decision.
CL: Oh, that's right.

BZ: As far as training, what type of things are you reevaluating? Are there any changes you're looking to make?
CL: Well I mean, John has been working on my defense a little bit more, for the most part, business as usual. I made a mistake and got caught; it's just part of the game. I have gotten away with that punch for a long time, this time I didn't.

BZ: Can you tell us a little bit about your workout regimen and diet?
CL: I just have a guy come in here and make my meals every day. He has them packaged up in my kitchen and ready to go and eat. As far as working out goes, I workout 4 to 5 days a week, 2 to 3 times a day.

BZ: How many more years do you plan on fighting?
CL: As long as my body let's me man, I feel great now. Feelin' real good so, I should be good for a while, at least I hope so.

BZ: If you get on the Randy Couture plan, you should be all right.
CL: I know, right? That's what I plan to do.

BZ: Would the thought of fighting for another organization ever cross your mind?
CL: Well I think the UFC is the place I'm going to be, but in the future you never really know, it's the biggest organization in the game and I think to be the best you gotta fight the best, and the best fighters are in UFC right now.

BZ: With all the PRIDE fighters flooding in, would you consider moving to another weight class to face new challengers? I know it's something you've said in the past that you would try.
CL: It's possible man, anything's possible for me right now.

BZ: Many of the critics out there are claiming that you have a hard time against good strikers, what do you have to say in response to those accusations?
CL: I don't really know what to say to that, I've never really seen myself as having too much problems with good strikers.

BZ: What are the biggest differences you noticed when fighting in PRIDE at Japan in comparison to fighting here in the UFC in the US?
CL: Big differences, definitely differences between the fans, it's the whole cultural thing, the way they acted and how quiet it is in the arena in Japan compared to here you know? But, I just like fighting man; I don't care where, man or how the fans are.

BZ: Dana White said that you needed 2 wins to earn a title shot, how do you feel about that?
CL: Uh, I don't think that's fair necessarily but, if that's what I gotta do…that's what I gotta do. I don't care, like I said I don't care I just want to fight man.

BZ: Many believe that Jardine is a major mismatch for you, what do you feel about Jardine as an opponent? Do you think his striking abilities are polished enough to face you?
CL: Well I hope so for him!

BZ: In your second fight against Tito Ortiz, what was going through your head when you saw that he was hurt and did it change the game plan you had for him?
CL: Not at all, I was expecting to hurt him sooner or later. I just jumped on him like I normally would, I just wanted him to quit, I wanted him to quit to it. I mean, he pretty much did, he wasn't defending himself anymore and he knows that.

BZ: Does your body undergo a sudden change, whether it is physical or mental, when you realize your opponent is in trouble?
CL: No, it happens so quickly. I wouldn't really know nor have any idea. People ask me a lot about me being in a bar and what's it feel like, "What does it feels like when you walk in a bar and know you can kick everyone's ass?" I mean, I don't know, I never thought about it, I don't know what it feels like to not be able to kick everyone's ass. I just hope I never have to do it.

BZ: What is the first thing you notice in your opponent before trying to finish them?
CL: That they're hurt! You can see it in their eyes and actions. You know a lot of times you see guys nod their head and smile like they're all right, trying to pretend and say that, "Hey I'm ok!" when they're really not. "I want you to give me some time and not jump on me for a while."

BZ: Not too long ago, you said in an interview that you don't choose your opponents. In your words, what happened with the fight against Wanderlei Silva?
CL: I have no idea, that's not my business. I agreed for it and I thought it was on for a minute and then it wasn't. You guys know about that more than about me.

BZ: It's been going around that you two might face each other at a UFC event in December, where Silva is set to make his debut. Can you confirm this?
CL: I haven't heard anything about that; I get questions like that all the time like: "Hey when's your next fight?" "Who's your next opponent?" (Laughs) I have no idea man, so if you know that, you know more than me.

BZ: What was it like doing an episode of Entourage?
CL: It was fun man, really fun. I asked to get on that show so…it's my favorite show. I love it.

BZ: How did you get the nickname "The Iceman?" Is there a good story behind that?
CL: John started calling me that after my third kickboxing fight and he said I don't get nervous before fights. He kept mentioning how he had tons of amateur fights and pro fights and would still get nervous before every fight. So, he just kinda started calling me that and it just stuck.

BZ: Are there any sponsors you'd like to thank?
CL: Oh yeah, uh, check out my website at and

BZ: Anything you'd like to say to your fans?
CL: Yeah, I'll be out there fighting man, nothing's changed. I'll be out there swinging soon so, just keep watching!