Keith Jardine vs. Luke Rockhold: "The Dean of Mean" Stands No Chance
Tonight, Luke Rockhold will be looking to defend his belt for the first time against Keith Jardine, a veteran of the sport who is making his first appearance at middleweight.
While Jardine may be trying to reinvent himself at a new division, he will not find much more success than he did at light heavyweight.
Jardine is 36 years old and well out of his prime. After pulling off the upset by beating Chuck Liddell at UFC 76 in 2007, he went 1-6 in the organization and was eventually dropped.
His lone win came over Brendan Vera, who was on a similar losing streak.
Since leaving the UFC, he has gone 2-1-1 against far lesser competition.
At one time, Keith Jardine was one of the better fighters on the planet.
While he has always suffered from having a weak chin, he had an unorthodox style that got him wins over Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin and fought to a reasonably close decision against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
But those fights were a long time ago, and the one-sided beatdown Gegard Mousasi handed Jardine proved that Jardine can no longer compete with upper-level fighters.
Jardine should have been given a fight against a lower-level middleweight for his debut. Perhaps against someone like Tim Kennedy, against whom he'd arguably have a striking advantage.
But he should not have been given a fight against Rockhold.
Rockhold is a dynamic striker, an above-average wrestler and a good submission fighter.
Jardine is at a disadvantage on his feet and on the ground and doesn't have the wrestling skills to choose where he'd rather be outperformed.
As long as Jardine doesn't get knocked out in the opening few minutes, his job with Strikeforce is almost certainly safe. He's a recognizable fighter and can give upcoming middleweights a good fight.
But his skillset has not improved enough since leaving the UFC to compensate for his bad chin and the effects of age.
Against any upper-level fighter, Jardine is doomed to fail.
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