UFC 96: Quinton Jackson-Keith Jardine...Why?

Michael BairCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2009

While watching UFC 93 tonight, the UFC had their upcoming events schedule segment on as they do on every pay-per-view.

When the previously unannounced UFC 96 came on, I was a bit confused. I saw Jackson-Jardine as the headliner.

Now, while the last name Jardine could not be mistaken for anyone other than Keith Jardine, I was a bit confused about whom Jackson could be.

Surely not my favorite fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who according to Dana White himself was likely to be the first in line to challenge for Rashad Evans’ title after Rampage’s vicious knockout of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92 (an event that I was lucky enough to see live.)

I spent the five to 10 seconds before the preview came on pondering who could be this Jackson fellow. All I could think of was Rampage, but that didn’t make any sense.

Then I saw footage of Rampage’s knockouts of Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei hit the screen and found myself asking one question.


Why exactly did Joe Silva and Dana White think this was a logical fight?

Rampage Jackson is still considered by many to be the most dangerous fighter at 205 in the world, and after shutting Wanderlei off, with and exclamation point might I add, it seemed like he was the most logical choice to be Evans’ first challenger for the Light Heavyweight belt.

Dana White seemed to think so, and last I checked he had a pretty significant influence on the UFC’s matchmaking.

So I still can’t figure out what the idea behind this matchup is.

I am pretty confident that Rampage will stop Jardine within the first two rounds in a very Rampage–like fashion.

It seems to be that Keith Jardine goes through cycles of fairly impressive wins and brutal knockout losses.

A win over the Iceman, followed by getting blown out of the water by Wanderlei. A win over Vera, and now he faces Rampage, a man who it seems has finally made a solid commitment to training and gotten past his arrest this summer.

I cannot in any situation see any possible way Jardine can win this fight. Rampage is too powerful and Jardine is too streaky.

If Rampage is going to fight again before a title shot, why Jardine? Why not Forrest Griffin, who took Jackson’s belt in a contested decision last July and Rampage himself has said is the fighter he wants to face most?

Perhaps Dana White wants the unbeaten winner of UFC 94’s Thiago Silva- Lyoto Machida matchup to get the next shot, which would make some sense.

But why Jardine?

Maybe Rashad Evans bribed Dana into giving his training partner Jardine a shot at Jackson so he can give Evans some pointers on the former champ.

What will Jardine’s advice be? Rampage punches hard? He has knockout power?

I think I have thought of all possible reasons and still can’t justify UFC 96’s headliner of Jackson-Jardine.

I welcome feedback and hope maybe one of you can enlighten me on this upcoming matchup.