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UFC releases former contender Jake Shields

On Monday, the UFC announced it has decided to part ways with former title contender Jake Shields.

Three years ago Shields entered the UFC riding a tidal wave of hype in the form of an impressive 15-fight winning streak that dated back to 2004. During this streak, fans saw Shields pick up victories over several future UFC title contenders such as Carlos Condit, Yushin Okami, Robbie Lawler, Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller and Dan Henderson en route to being crowned both the EliteXC welterweight champion and Strikeforce Middleweight champion.

After making his long awaited UFC debut with a win over Martin Kampmann at UFC 121 back in 2010, Shields challenged former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in the main event of the historic UFC 129 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

In front of 55,000 people, a UFC record, Shields did the unthinkable and actually won a few rounds on the judges’ scorecards against St. Pierre. However in the end, the St. Pierre prevailed and Shields was handed his first loss since December 2004.

Shields followed this performance up by dropping a first-round knockout loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 25, marking the first time he suffered back-to-back losses in his career, before righting the ship with a unanimous decision victory over Yoshiro Akiyama at UFC 144 in Japan.

However, a failed drug test following his victory over Ed Herman at UFC 150 forced Shields to sit out a six month suspension, pay a fine and see his decision victory over Herman changed to a No Contest.

The former champion rebounded with back-to-back split decision victories over Tyrone Woodley and Demian Maia before suffering a one sided beatdown at the hands of Hector Lombard at UFC 171 last month.

Shields’ release just adds to the list of high profile grapplers cut from the biggest fight promotion in the world. These names include top 10 fighters and former contenders Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami, both of whom now compete under the World Series of Fighting banner.