http://sherdogblog.craveonline.com/blog/2010-05-17#24537When Jake Shields was filmed sitting next to UFC boss Dana White at an April WEC show in Sacramento, speculation began to swirl over when the Strikeforce middleweight champion would be joining the sport’s biggest promotion.
Any doubt about White’s motivation toward Shields was removed when he mouthed the infamous, “He’s mine,” into the lens.
In fact, officials for Strikeforce are already looking toward a future without Shields, should he bolt as expected. A source told Sherdog.com there is a tentative plan to book fights in the division with an eye toward crowning a new 185-pound champion later in 2010, possibly at one of the company’s bigger shows in November or December.
The potential for a grand prix style tournament is not likely given the limited card space and television time for the summer shows that have already started being booked. However, some inside the promotion see the future bookings as a de facto tournament that will eventually fill the potential vacancy by the end of the year.
Fighters expected to be in the mix for title consideration include Robbie Lawler, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, Dan Henderson, Jason Miller, Tim Kennedy and Luke Rockhold among others.
Middleweight is one of the deeper divisions for the company, but the loss of Shields will make it tough for Strikeforce should one of Shields’ former victims win the 185 strap.
Shields holds wins over Lawler, Henderson and Miller. Aside from “Jacare,” those three would have to be considered some of the favorites to claim the belt. Legitimacy will be an issue for any of them should they summit the division.
Strikeforce is planning to crown a new Middleweight Champion at the end of the year when I assume Jake will be fighting this guy: