Keith Jardine has stepped inside the cage to face some of the biggest names in MMA. Saturday night, Jardine will attempt to claim the Strikeforce middleweight title from Luke Rockhold in the main event of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine. The fight will be the headliner for the Showtime card, which also features the likes of Robbie Lawler, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, and Tyron Woodley.
For Jardine, this is about taking advantage of a second chance to compete among the stars of the sport; not on tiny little shows in places like Punta Cana.
“They didn’t even have a proper timekeeper or a bell, the rounds were going too long, and it was a mess,” said Jardine, of a 2010 fight he took in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, against Kiko France in a recent interview with Strikeforce’s website. “I was sitting there watching this, and thinking that I fight because I’m a fighter, and at that point I really needed a win, so I would have fought for free, and I knew that I probably was fighting for free, and I went out and did it for the love of the game.”
Since earning that win over France, Jardine has returned to the U.S., going the distance with Gegard Mousasi in a fight that ended in a draw. Now, he gets his chance to main event another show and compete for a world title against Rockhold.
“It’s a dream,” Jardine said. “I’ve been working real hard for this. I tried to reinvent myself and I feel like I went to the bottom and now I’m working my way back up. Here I am, making my 185-pound debut and fighting for the Strikeforce world championship. I just feel incredibly fortunate.”
MMATraining Take: It will be interesting to see how Rockhold handles the unusual attack of Jardine. “The Dean of Mean” has went the distance with several championship fighters in his career, and if he has managed his weight cut correctly, will likely give Rockhold all he can handle.