Shields headed back to middleweight - NBC Sports

Shields headed back to middleweight
Shields will spend the next couple of months adding muscle to his frame before returning as a 185-pounder later this summer
March 29, 2012, 11:03 am

Jake Shields' run as a welterweight is over ... at least for now.

The former welterweight contender has decided to move back up to middleweight for his next fight, the UFC confirmed with NBCSports.com earlier this week. Shields will spend the next couple of months adding muscle to his frame before returning as a 185-pounder later this summer.

Shields (27-6-1) most recently beat Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision at UFC 144, however, according to UFC officials, the cut to 170 pounds was taking too much out of him, which led to the decision to move back up to 185.

The 33-year-old fought as a middleweight for a portion of his run in Strikeforce, defeating Jason "Mayhem" Miller in Nov. 2009 to capture the promotion's vacant 185-pound belt. He retained the title in April 2010 after defeating veteran Dan Henderson via unanimous decision. Following that win, Shields signed with the UFC and subsequently dropped back down to 170 pounds.

The win over Akiyama last month in Japan snapped Shields' two-fight losing, the longest of his 13-year career.