Jake Shields Weigh-inStrikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields is one step closer to signing with the UFC after being formally released by Strikeforce on Wednesday, according to Sherdog.

Shields has been expected to sign with the UFC since completing his Strikeforce contract with an April win over Dan Henderson.

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Strikeforce still had the right to match the UFC’s offers for several more weeks, but with a deal to retain Shields looking increasing unlikely, released the middleweight title-holder early and plans to hold 185-pound tournament later this year to crown a new champion.

Shields reportedly hopes to debut against UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva.

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