Former Strikeforce middleweight champ Jake Shields has one man on his mind right now in Yoshihiro Akiyama, a fellow former 185er who Shields will meet in Feburary at UFC 144. Shields-Akiyama will be part of the main card when the UFC returns to Japan with Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson meeting in the main event with lightweight gold on the line.

After that, however, Shields may start looking for a way to step into the Octagon with one of the best in the world in UFC middleweight title-holder Anderson Silva.

“That’s a fight I’ve wanted for a long time. Anderson’s a phenomenal fighter, one of the best of all time, but I just think stylistically the guys that match up best with him are wrestlers with good jiu-jitsu,” said Shields, in a recent interview with MMAFightCorner. “Obviously it wouldn’t be an easy fight because I think he has the best stand-up in the sport, but that’s a fight I would love an opportunity to do”

Shields’ potential move to middleweight could be impacted by what happens with Nick Diaz, a longtime training partner who is set to compete for the UFC interim welterweight belt in 2012 against Carlos Condit.

“Nick and me don’t really have an interest in fighting each other. We’ve been teammates for eleven years, and that’s something that’s not really on my list of things to do,” Shields said. “Even though we’re in the same weight, we’re both guys that’ll fight anyone, so either one of us will go up or down.”

“I’d love to see Nick take that belt,” the native Californian continued on his teammate. “And then at that point I’ll try to get through Akiyama and then probably start putting on some weight.”


MMATraining Take: Shields would have his hands full with Silva, but he is right in that wrestlers with good jiu-jitsu pose a problem for “The Spider.” However, before it gets close to a match with Silva, Shields needs to put together a win streak, as he has dropped his last two UFC fights.