Keith Jardine just might have found his niche in Strikeforce.
It should be stated that this writer put up another article about how Jardine has the most to gain on Saturday with a win potentially getting him back in the UFC, but that doesn't mean that is a good thing.
Jardine is the proverbial big fish in a small pond in Strikeforce and is able to constantly get bigger fights. In the UFC his biggest win was against Chuck Liddell and it was a great win for him. However, Jardine was never able to capitalize on that win and turn it into something.
He also took Quinton "Rampage" Jackson to the limit, almost winning their fight but getting knocked down in the last 10 seconds. It is what most in the MMA community think cost him the decision.
Jardine's career seems to be rife with moments where he almost rose to greatness only to fail or come up short.
That isn't an insult to Jardine. Precious few people ever take risks the way he has and instead choose to play it safe throughout their lives. He chose to risk everything and dared to be something amazing.
That he failed is a shame, but nothing to be ashamed about.
And that is why Jardine not only should stay in Strikeforce, but he deserves it as well.
In the UFC he was nothing more than another fighter—albeit a fun one to watch, but another gatekeeper who was never going to fight for the title or end up in the Hall of Fame.
In Strikeforce he is a commodity, a name that people recognize and will tune in for. He is someone important.
Jardine is 36. Soon enough his time in the cage will be over. He may never get the brass ring as far as the UFC goes, but if he can become Strikeforce champion and stay as a staple of the company he will have achieved some success.
It may not be what Jardine wanted when he started fighting. It may not even be what he wants now. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work out the way we want.
Jardine has been a professional fighter for 10 years. While that might not be a lot of time in other jobs, in sports it is a lifetime.
At this point he should be enjoying the time he has left as an MMA fighter. That isn't to say he should stop trying to compete or be the best fighter he can be. It just means there is enough competition in Strikeforce to keep him busy.