Far too many times I’ve seen Keith Jardine being counted out. Not from punches, but before the bell even rings. “He’s too unorthodox” they say. “He will lose this one for sure” fans have repeated. Yet, none of this bothers Keith Jardine. He goes about his business as a professional and always wins when the odds are against him. One thing I’ve learned is to never count out Keith Jardine.
“The Dean of Mean” will take on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 96 March 7th in Columbus, OH. You would think that the UFC is just serving Jardine up to Jackson so he can knock him into orbit on his way back to the title he desperately wants. But a little history lesson will show that Jardine has a way of crashing the party and messing up everyones plans.
December 30, 2006 UFC 66 – Jardine vs. Forrest Griffin.
Griffin was the face of the first season of TUF and was coming off another impressive win over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 62. The UFC was setting Griffin up with another fighter they thought he could beat to build him up for an eventual title shot down the road. Jardine promptly knocked Forrest out cold in the first round on his way to the giant upset.
September 22, 2007 UFC 76 Jardine vs. Chuck Liddell
Jardine was coming off a brutal lose to Houston Alexander and Liddell had just lost his title to a mean right hook from Rampage. But the stage was set once again for the UFC marquee name (Liddell) to run over Jardine and get right back to a title shot. Jardine screwed up the plans again. Using wicked leg kicks and a right hand that almost floored the former champion Jardine won a very close split decision. Liddell was left to contemplate his future in the sport and Jardine was on his way up.
October 18, 2008 UFC 89 vs. Brandon Vera
The UFC thought they were doing everything they could to build the former Heavyweight Brandon Vera back up after his two loses to much larger fighters Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum. Vera moved down to 205 and the UFC feed him the little known Reese Andy July 19th at UFN 14 who Vera beat in a convincing (albeit boring) fashion. Many felt that Keith Jardine was the perfect match for Vera; Jardine would be a stepping stone for Vera as they groomed him to be another star in the crowded lightheavyweight division. Jardine confused things even further. He out-struck the striker on his way to a decision victory over a disappointed Vera. His reward? He’s fighting in the main event at UFC 96 and the same doubts about Jardine exist.
Columbus Ohio is the Mecca of the sports world for one weekend a year. They will be treated to a main event not unlike previous big fights with Keith Jardine. Where he will once again be counted out before the bell ever rings, only to have his hand raised at the end and everyone wondering how he just pulled the upset.
Make a mental note before UFC 96. Before you start believing that Keith Jardine has no chance against Rampage Jackson just remember all of the other times he has fooled you before.
Jardine won’t fool me this time, for I will never count him out again. You shouldn’t either.