Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields will return to 185 pounds in 2012, UFC officials confirmed on Tuesday night.

The news was first reported on Fuel TV’s “UFC Tonight.” Shields’ first UFC middleweight appearance is expected to come this summer, though it has not officially been announced by the promotion. Shields had competed for the UFC at 170 pounds after joining the promotion in 2010, edging a game Martin Kampmann via split decision before challenging Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight crown nearly one year ago at UFC 129.

After dropping a unanimous decision to St. Pierre, the Cesar Gracie pupil suffered a second straight loss for the first time in his career, falling by knockout to Jake Ellenberger this past September in the Fight Night 25 headliner. Shields rebounded from the defeat, however, outpointing Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 144 in his most recent outing on Feb. 26.

Prior to his time in the Octagon, Shields was a decorated competitor in several promotions, winning the Shooto 168-pound championship in 2004. The Californian would go on to become the first and last EliteXC welterweight king, as well as the Strikeforce middleweight titlist, capturing the latter belt in 2009 with a victory over Jason Miller and successfully defending it the following year against Dan Henderson.

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