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Jake Shields - Greatest MMA Champion of All Time

Jake Shields - Greatest MMA Champion of All Time

1. Jake Shields's Details

Jake Shields - Fighter Details
Name Jake Shields
Nickname N./A
Born Summertown, Tennessee, United States
Date of Birth January 9, 1979
Nationality American
College/University San Francisco State University
Last Fight October 20, 2018, in Professional Fighters League (PFL)
Last Weigh In 170 lbs
Weight Class Peso Medio (82 kg); Welterweight 
Weight 170 lbs (77 kg)
Height 6 ft 0 in
Reach  72 in
Career Disclosed Earnings $419,000
Fighting out of San Francisco, California, United States
Foundational style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Wrestling NCAA Division II Wrestling
Favorite Technique Sweep Single Takedown
Guillotine
Rank Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 
A-Class Shootist
Awarded By  Cesar Gracie
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda -> Carlos Gracie Sr. -> Robson Gracie -> Cesar Gracie -> Jake Shields
Team/Association Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
El Nino Sports
Fairtex Gym
 Tweeter Logo Instagram Logo

2. Jake Shields’s Biography

“As long as you are open-minded you can learn stuff from anyone.”
(Jake Shields)

True to his words Jake Shields learned different combat styles ranging from wrestling, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and mixed martial arts. He aspires to learn from others and inspires others to learn from him. He is now teaching his unique “American Jiu-Jitsu” techniques to the world.

2.1. Jake Shields’s Early Life & Amateur Fighting

Jake Shields, the greatest American MMA fighter, was born on January 9, 1979. Shields was raised near Mountain Ranch, California in the Sierra Nevada. He was home-schooled till junior high and didn’t enjoy conventional social opportunities; hence led to an isolated childhood. Shields shared a bond with his older brothers’ friends. With his gang, Shields relished adventure and discovered his love for mountain biking, wild caving, snowboarding, climbing mountains, and wrestling.

Love for Vegetarian Diet

Later in life, he realized his love for a vegetarian diet. He explained to the Bleacher Report:

“ I’ve been a lifelong vegetarian. I am a vegetarian and it’s always been a way of life.”

Success in Amateur Wrestling

Jake Shields’s Biography

Fond of wrestling, Shields’ amateur wrestling career began at the tender age of nine. He proved himself in various competitions and became a four-year varsity wrestler at Calaveras High School. Furthermore, he finished 2nd place at the Amateur Athletic Union National Freestyle Championship.

Qualifying for the USA Nationals, FILA Nationals, and World Team Trials were additional achievements under his belt. In 1997, Shields secured 4th place in the California JC State Tournament (80 kg weight division). In 1998, he won 3rd place in the same tournament in a different weight class (89 kg division).

MMA Training, Kickboxing & Chuck Lidell

The year 1999 marked the beginning of Shields’ mixed martial arts career when he learned kickboxing at the SLO Kickboxing Academy in San Luis Obispo, California. At this fateful place, he met Chuck Lidell and picked up some magical kickboxing skills to work on.

An injured teammate was all it took for Shields to fight his first MMA match at 185 lbs. He then proceeded to fight five more fights in this weight division.

These victories helped Shields decide to pursue a glorious career in mixed martial arts. 

Wrestling Scholarship

Everything Shields learned from wrestling helped him through every rite of passage. His skills opened the doors to San Francisco State University, where he was awarded a wrestling scholarship. 

Jake Shields’s Biography

Cesar Gracie Fight Team & Jiu-Jitsu

After developing strong wrestling skills and being exposed to mixed martial arts Shields ventured into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and began training with the Cesar Gracie Team.

As expected, he made immense progress in the sport.

The Cesar Gracie Fight Team provided guidance and life-altering friendships. Consequently, Shields formed a strong bond with Gilbert Melendez and Nick Diaz.

2.2. Jake Shields’s Pro BJJ Combat

Jake Shields’s Pro BJJ Combat

The Pinnacle of BJJ Career

In 2005, he participated in the highest level jiu-jitsu competitions, the ADCC Submission Wrestling Championship, and the Pan American Championship, bringing home a bronze and gold medal.

Fairtex Combat Academy

Shields did justice to every martial art he aimed to learn and master. While fighting and learning jiu-jitsu, he continued to train in kickboxing. For this purpose, he joined a team of professionals at the Fairtex Combat Academy and trained with Muay Thai champions Jongsanan Fairtex and Alex Gong.

Elevation to Back Belt Level

In 2007, Jake Shields was promoted to a black belt by Cesar Gracie.

2.3. Jake Shields’s Pro-MMA Combat

Jake Shields - The Highlights of MMA Career

Shields’ striking victories at the Shooto World Mixed Martial Arts Championship and the Rumble of the Rock World Championship earned him the current status of MMA Champion.

In 1999, Shields fought his first MMA fight against Paul Harrison at CFF: The Cobra Qualifier 1999. He won the fight by knockout (TKO punches). He continued to compete in small promotional events till the next big competition came along.

In 2007, Shields signed a contract with Elite XC. His first fight was against Renato Verissimo, an opponent who could not withstand Shields’ powerful TKO punches and elbows.

After Verissimo, Shields defeated Mike Pyle with a brilliant rear-naked choke at Elite XC: Renegade. The next fight against Nick Thompson was yet another win for Shields at Elite XC: Unfinished Business. After he finished Thompson with a guillotine choke, Shields proceeded to successfully defend his title at Elite XC: Heat against Paul Daley.

At Strikeforce: Fedor vs Rogers, Shields competed for the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship. Cung Le had stepped down and his decision created a momentous opportunity for Shields to claim the title after submitting Jason Miller via unanimous decision. He successfully defended his title against Dan Henderson and later stepped down to switch to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

UFC Debut

Shields’ skills prevailed in his debut fight at UFC 121. He secured a win against Martin Kampmann with a split decision. At UFC 129, he lost the match to the UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre via unanimous decision. After six more UFC fights, Shields moved on to the World Series of Fighting (WSOF).

UFC Setback

In 2011, Shields suffered a major UFC TKO defeat at the hands of Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger started the fight with an uppercut and threw Shields to the ground. Shields went for a takedown that Ellenberger easily defended. Ellenberger then repeatedly punched Shields as he lay on the ground. The referee quickly interfered to save Shields from the violent attack. As a result, the fight was brought to an abrupt end and Ellenberger was declared the winner.

WSOF Debut

Jake Shields won his MMA debut at WSOF 14 by subduing Ryan Ford with a rear-naked choke. After some time, WSOF rebranded as Professional Fighters League (PFL).

Shields’ first fight at PFL: Everett was against Danny Davis Jr., winning via unanimous decision.

2.4. Jake Shields’s Historic Fights

Jake Shields vs Nick Thompson


Though Shields had already won his debut fight, he was still considered a newcomer at the Elite XC. The pressure to win was staggering. He entered and faced Nick Thompson with unwavering confidence.

He demonstrated excellent submission skills to tackle his opponent and won the third consecutive fight of the promotion.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Weight Class Location
2008 Elite XC: Unfinished Business Nick Thompson W Submission (Guillotine Choke) 1 Welterweight California, US

Jake Shields vs Robbie Lawler


Shields has fought stunning battles but his fight against Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce: Lawler vs Shields in 2009 was hands down the best ever.

Lawler didn’t make it easy for Shields. In the beginning, it seemed that he had control of the match. However, Shields quickly turned the tables; he pulled guard and finished Lawler with a lethal guillotine choke.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Weight Class Location
2009 Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields Robbie Lawler W Submission (Guillotine Choke) 1 Middleweight St. Louis, Missouri, US

Jake Shields vs Tyron Woodley


In 2013, Jake Shields faced off against Tyron Woodley at the UFC 161 event; a challenging bout arranged by the lucrative UFC promotion. The two martial artists entered the octagon to strike, grapple, dominate and submit. The match lasted for three complete rounds. At the end of the third round, Shields won the match via split decision.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Weight Class Location
2013 UFC 161 Tyron Woodley W Decision (split) 3 Welterweight Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada

2.5. Jake Shields’s BJJ Instructorship

Time as an Instructorship

From 2002 to 2008, Shields remained the head instructor of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts (MMA) at the Fairtex-Gracie affiliate academy in San Francisco.

Jake Shields’ “American Jiu-Jitsu”

Inspired by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Jake Shields invented American Jiu-Jitsu. Ths combat style is a combination of self-defense-oriented, traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and aggressive transitions used in wrestling.

2.6. Jake Shields’s Championship & Accomplishments

Amateur Wrestling

  • USA Wrestling
  • Qualified for FILA Junior World Team Trials.
  • Qualified for FILA University World Team Trials.
  • Amateur Athletic Union
  • Secured 2nd place in Freestyle National Wrestling Championship.
  • California Community College Athletic Association
Events Years
All American 1997, 1998
All-State Selections 1997, 1998
Western State Conference 1997, 1998
Collegiate Career Record Years
56 - 14 1997, 1998
  • California Interscholastic Federation
Achievement Years
CIF State Championship Qualifier 1997
Mother Lode League Champion 1997
Calaveras High School Wrestling Wall of Fame 1996-1997
Scholastic Career Record Years
108 - 45 1993 -1997

1. International (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)

  • Pan American Championship
  • ADCC Submission Wrestling Championship
  • Fight 2 Win Championship
  • International Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Championship
  • Polaris Pro
  • Grapplers Quest

2. International (MMA)

  • Elite Xtreme Combat
  • Professional Shooto Japan
  • Strikeforce
  • Rumble on the Rock Welterweight Championship

3. Records/Medals - Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

  • ADCC Submission Wrestling Championship
  • Pan American Championship
  • F2W Championship
Event Year Medal/ Record
ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship 2005 1 Bronze MedalBronze_Medal
Pan American Championship 2005 1 Gold MedalGold medal

3. Jake Shields’s Main Achievements

  • He won the Fight 2 Win (FTW) Middleweight Championship once.
Year Weight Class
2019 Middleweight
  • He won the Pan American Championship once.
Year Weight Class
2005 Middleweight
  • He secured 3rd Place in ADCC Submission Wrestling Championship
Year Weight Class
2005 77 kg

4. Jake Shields’s Main Achievements (Belts)

Colored Belt
Position Belt Event Year
1st Purple Pan American Championship 2005

5. Jake Shields’s Main Achievements (MMA)

  • He won the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship once.
Year Opponent
2009 Jason Miller
  • He won the Elite Xtreme Combat Welterweight Championship once.
Year Opponent
2008 Nick Thompson
  • He won the Professional Shooto Japan Welterweight Championship once.
Year Opponent
2004 Ray Cooper
  • He won the Rumble on the Rock Welterweight Tournament once.
Year Opponent
2006 Carlos Condit
  • Jake Shields’s Worldwide MMA Rankings
Rank Title
23 Greatest MMA Grappler of All Time
80 Greatest MMA Fighter of All Time

6. Jake Shields’s BJJ Professional Record Breakdown

Professional Record Breakdown
32 Matches 17 Wins 11 Losses
By Submission 4 5
By Points 3 3
By Decision 5 3
By EBI/OT 4 0
Other 1 0
Draw 4

6.1. Submission Methods W/L

Method 4 Wins 5 Losses
Armbar 0 3
Guillotine Choke 0 1
RNC 2 0
Heel hook 1 0
Inside Heel hook 0 1
Arm-triangle Choke 1 0

7. Jake Shields’s BJJ Fight History

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2021 3CG Underdogs Renato Canuto L Armbar SF 84 kg
2021 3CG Underdogs Pat Downeey W Referee Decision 4F 84 kg
2021 3CG Underdogs Eric Alequin W Points R1 84 kg
2020 SUG 14 Brent Primus L Armbar SPF 94 kg
2020 SUG 14 Richie Martinez L Armbar SPF ABS
2019 Quintet Ultra Gilbert Burns L Referee Decision —-- ABS
2019 Quintet Ultra Glover Teixeira D —----- —-- ABS
2019 Quintet Ultra Cub Swanson W Injury —--- ABS
2019 Quintet Ultra Mark Munoz W Arm-triangle Choke —--- ABS
2019 Third Coast III Romulo Barral L Referee Decision SPf 86 kg
2019 SUG 8 Austin Vanderford W EBI/OT SPF 88 kg
2019 Polaris 9 Rafael Lovato L Referee Decision SPF 92 kg
2019 Fight 2 Win 98 Ron Keslar W Referee Decision —---- Middleweight
2018 Polaris 6 Craig Jones L Inside heel hook SPF 84 kg
2018 F2W 62 Kit Dale W Referee Decision SPF ABS
2017 SUG 6 Gilbert Burns W EBI/OT SPF ABS
2017 F2W 51 Murilo Santana W Referee Decision SPF 88 kg
2017 ADCC Abdurakhman Bilarov L Points 5x0 E1 99 kg
2017 Polaris 5 Daniel Strauss W Referee Decision SPF 90 kg
2017 SUG 4 Dillon Danis W EBI/OT SPF 88 kg
2016 SUG 3 Chris Lytle W EBI/OT SPF ABS
2016 F2W + MP Lyoto Machida W Heel hook SPF ABS
2016 Polaris 3 AJ Agazarm D —----- SPF 82 kg
2014 Metamoris 5 Roberto de Souza D —----- SPF ABS
2013 World Expo Leandro Lo D —----- SPF ABS
2006 LA Sub-X Saulo Ribeiro L Points 2x1 SPF ABS
2006 PSL: X-Mission Marcelo Garcia L Guillotine SPF ABS
2005 Gracie Open Jon Fitch W RNC SPF ABS
2005 ADCC World Championship Leonardo Santos W RNC 3 PLC 77 kg
2005 ADCC World Championship Pablo Popovitch L Points 5x0 SF 77 kg
2005 ADCC World Championship Cameron Earle W Points 3x0 4F 77 kg
2005 ADCC World Championship Diego Sanchez W Points 6x0 R1 77 kg

8. Jake Shields's MMA Professional Record Breakdown

Professional Record Breakdown
46 Matches 33 Wins 11 Losses
By Knockout 3 4
By Submission 12 1
By Decision 18 6
Draw 1
No Contest (N/C) 1

8.1. Submission Methods W/L

Method 12 Wins 1 Loss
Armbar 1 0
Guillotine Choke 3 0
RNC 6 0
Kimura 0 1
Neck Crank 1 0
Choke 1 0

9. Jake Shields’s MMA Fight History

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage/Round Weight Class
2018 PFL 10 Ray Cooper III L TKO (punches) 1 Welterweight
2018 PFL 6 Herman Terrado W Decision (unanimous) 3 Welterweight
2018 PFL 3 Ray Cooper III L TKO (punches) 2 Welterweight
2017 PFL: Everett Danny Davis Jr. W Decision (unanimous) 3 Welterweight
2016 WSOF 34 Jon Fitch L Decision (unanimous) 5 Welterweight
2015 WSOF 22 Rousimar Palhares L Submission (kimura) 3 Welterweight
2015 WSOF 17 Brian Foster W Submission (neck crank) 1 Welterweight
2014 WSOF 14 Ryan Ford W Submission (rear-naked choke) 1 Welterweight
2014 UFC 171 Héctor Lombard L Decision (unanimous) 3 Welterweight
2013 UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields Demian Maia W Decision (split) 5 Welterweight
2013 UFC 161 Tyron Woodley W Decision (split) 3 Welterweight
2012 UFC 150 Ed Herman NC NC (overturned) 3 Middleweight
2012 UFC 144 Yoshihiro Akiyama W Decision (unanimous) 3 Welterweight
2011 UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger Jake Ellenberger L TKO (knee and punches) 1 Welterweight
2011 UFC 129 Georges St-Pierre L Decision (unanimous) 5 Welterweight
2010 UFC 121 Martin Kampmann W Decision (split) 3 Welterweight
2010 Strikeforce: Nashville Dan Henderson W Decision (unanimous) 5 Middleweight
2009 Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers Jason Miller W Decision (unanimous) 5 Middleweight
2009 Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields Robbie Lawler W Submission (guillotine choke) 1 Middleweight
2008 EliteXC: Heat Paul Daley W Submission (armbar) 2 Welterweight
2008 EliteXC: Unfinished Business Nick Thompson W Submission (guillotine choke) 1 Welterweight
2007 EliteXC: Renegade Mike Pyle W Submission (rear-naked choke) 1 Welterweight
2007 EliteXC: Uprising Renato Verissimo W TKO (punches and elbows) 1 Catchweight
2007 Dynamite!! USA Ido Pariente W Submission (rear-naked choke) 1 Welterweight
2007 Bodog Fight: Costa Rica Combat Ray Steinbeiss W Submission (guillotine choke) 1 N/A
2006 FCP: Malice at Cow Palace Steve Berger W TKO (punches) 2 N/A
2006 Rumble on the Rock 9 Carlos Condit W Decision (unanimous) 3 N/A
2006 Rumble on the Rock 9 Yushin Okami W Decision (majority) 3 N/A
2006 Rumble on the Rock 8 Dave Menne W Decision (unanimous) 3 Welterweight
2005 Kage Kombat Toby Imada W Decision (unanimous) 3 N/A
2004 Shooto: Year End Show 2004 Akira Kikuchi L Decision (unanimous) 3 Middleweight
2004 Shooto Hawaii: Soulja Fight Night Ray Cooper W Submission (rear-naked choke) 1 N/A
2003 Pancrase - Hybrid 10 Kazuo Misaki D Draw 3 N/A
2003 Shooto - 8/10 in Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium Akira Kikuchi W Decision (unanimous) 3 N/A
2003 Shooto: Midwest Fighting Milton Vieira W Decision (unanimous) 3 N/A
2002 Shooto: Year End Show 2002 Hayato Sakurai W Decision (unanimous) 3 N/A
2002 Warriors Quest 6: Best of the Best Ray Cooper L Decision (majority) 3 N/A
2001 GC 7: Casualties of War Robert Ferguson W Decision (unanimous) 2 N/A
2001 GC 6: Caged Beasts Jeremy Jackson W Submission (rear-naked choke) 1 N/A
2001 GC 3: Showdown at Soboba Tracy Hess W Decision (unanimous) 2 N/A
2001 GC 2: Collision at Colusa Randy Velarde W Submission (rear-naked choke) 2 N/A
2000 IFC: Warriors Challenge 9 Phillip Miller L Decision (unanimous) 2 Middleweight
2000 Best of the Best Shannon Ritch W Submission (arm-triangle choke) 1 Middleweight
2000 IFC: Warriors Challenge 6 Marty Armendarez L TKO (punches) 1 Middleweight

10. Jake Shields’s Top Fights (Video Links)

Jake Shields vs AJ Agazarm

Jake Shields vs Jon Fitch

Jake Shields vs Tyron Woodley

Jake Shields vs Jake Ellenberger

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