The UFC Can't Waste Time With Jake Shields

Bleacher ReportContributor IJanuary 16, 2017

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When Jake Shields becomes a part of the UFC in the next little while, the first question everyone has to ask is, "Who is he going to fight first?"

It seems like Shields would be a lock to grab an immediate title shot against champ Georges St. Pierre, but that probably won't be the way it goes down.

GSP's next title defense will be against Josh Koscheck, leaving a healthy time period between him and Shields, eventually locking up.

While that's going on, Shields will likely have to fight one bout against another contender in the division. The UFC should either forgo this, or pick Shields' opponent wisely.

With Thiago Alves and Jon Fitch set to finally rematch this summer, it would seem that a perfect timeline is emerging for Shields to face the winner for a title shot.

The only problem I have with this is that the other side of the contender bout really doesn't deserve a shot.

Why on earth would we want to watch a GSP/Koscheck rematch, and then another rematch between GSP and Alves/Fitch? This can happen if Shields is to lose to either of them in a contender bout.

While I don't think Jon Fitch stands a stones throw in hell of beating Jake Shields, Thiago Alves and the bombs in his hands and feet could easily put Shields (or anyone) to sleep.

If the UFC decides to match up Shields for a fight with one of these two to determine a clear cut title contender, it could come to fruition that Thiago Alves clips Shields (because anyone can get caught) and set up a scenario where Shields isn't in line to compete for the strap and there's no interesting fight left for GSP.

Here is where I think the UFC needs to take this — either let Shields await GSP, or feed him an easy win.

I know Shields will want to stay busy, so the UFC should probably lean toward the latter.

In comes Matt Hughes.

Hughes continually states that he wants to get back to the title but he doesn't actually want to fight anyone good to get there. Why not send him in there against Shields to get pummeled into retirement?

Hughes will likely try to duck Shields (or anyone else that's good) by any means necessary, but the UFC needs to step in and make him fight an elite fighter if he doesn't want to go out looking like a joke.

It could be a win-win.

Shields grabs a title shot after one warm-up fight against a legendary name who has finished his career, and Matt Hughes can go quietly into the night with a loss against a top-tier opponent.

If all hell freezes and Hughes wins that fight, then Shields really didn't deserve anything anyway.