MMA, like boxing, can be a ruthless sport. When you're on a roll you're the king of the world and when you're not you're forgotten about quickly. Keith Jardine is a rare example of a man that his been able to keep a somewhat steady fan base despite his numerous consecutive losses that he acquired while his fights were readily available for viewing in one form or another to the fans that follow the sport. Time and time again we would say that this is a 'make or break' situation for the Techno Viking twin, and frankly, we'll probably continue to say that as long as some promotion that publicizes their card heavily allows Jardine to fight on their card.
The last time that we really talked about Jardine was when he fought Trevor Prangley at Shark Fights 13 last September when the regional promotion made their first big push to get noticed opting to go the pay-per-view route. That night Jardine acquired his fifth loss in a row via a split decision loss. The loss marked the first time in 13 fights where Jardine wasn't fighting on a UFC promoted card. In the time he was with the UFC he was able to put together a less than stellar 6-7 record with the company, losing four straight before they finally decided to pull the plug.
The fact that he was able to stick around for that long in such a cutthroat promotion as the UFC speaks volumes towards the interest that he was able to gather from both the fans and the Zuffa brass alike. UFC is well known for their two losses in a row cut policy; Although this isn't always the case more times than not it is. Jardine was able to not only exceed the losses that most fighters are able to accumulate within the UFC, he was able to double it. The only other fighters able to stick around with consecutive losses that long have been David 'Tank' Abbott and Phil Baroni, Baroni being the most recent which was all the way back in 2005.
Shark Fights 13 in most peoples eyes was Jardine's final shot to prove his worth and he wasn't able to get the win. Although he looked fairly decent in his fight against Prangley, the losses under his belt had already done too much damage to his name to make people think it was a sign of progress. Immediately following the fight the questions began to swarm Jardine concerning how he would move forward with his career from that point. Would he call it a day or would he continue to fight? Jardine chose to move forward with his career and vowed to learn from his mistakes.
Keith's next fight would take place at Nemesis Fighting's first and last card where he walked away with a decision win over the unknown Francisco France. Sadly for every fighter on the card, the victories obtained from the event were overshadowed by the blatant amateurish handling of the card that left all of the competitors that fought with bounced checks never to be paid. Whatever anyone was able to accomplish on this card, no matter how meaningful or meaningless it was, didn't go noticed. Although Jardine's win was over a fighter that was 5-2 and had no name value, it was a huge accomplishment for Jardine in the sense that it marked the first time in two years that he was able to taste victory.
Following his win at Nemesis Fighting, Jardine fought once more in New Mexico where he was able to not only win but win via first round KO. Although the win once again came against a fighter that no one knew it was a huge landmark for Jardine. Jardine was able to do two things that he hadn't been able to do in nearly four and a half years, win by KO and put together back-to-back wins. Once again like the Nemesis card, the New Mexico card had problems for Jardine. Nobody knew about it.
While Jardine has been able to move mountains in respect to his sub-par career as of late these achievements will more than likely go unnoticed by most fans as he makes his way back into the spotlight this coming Saturday.
This past week it was announced that Mike Kyle was forced to pull out of his fight on April 9th against Gegard Mousasi due to a broken hand. With the promotion scrambling to find a replacement and Strikeforce's new owners, Zuffa, unwilling to entertain the idea of co-promoting, Strikeforce was left with very few options. Because of the lack of options with already signed athletes they were forced to think outside of the box. In steps Keith Jardine. Still in shape after only having a one month layoff since his las fight that ended in relatively short fashion, Jardine was able enough to sign the dotted line to fight the Dream Catcher.
While the Dean of Mean has hit somewhat of a new stride in his career as of late it seems logical that no one will pay attention to his recent achievements. More than likely he will be stepping into his fight against Mousasi this Saturday viewed as an 0-5 fighter rather than a man that has just recently won two fights in a row.
From a fan's perspective I can't blame anyone for viewing Jardine in that light. His wins have been against meaningless opposition that simply don't garner the name recognition warranted to be viewed as a serious accomplishment. Even though we the fans won't pay too close attention to what Jardine has been able to do within this last year, I'm sure that it means a great deal to the man that everybody has brushed off to the side.
This Saturday night Keith Jardine is in a 'make or break' fight for his career as a mixed martial artist. While fans aren't giving him a fighter's chance at beating Mousasi that really isn't the point. Following his loss to Trevor Prangley, Jardine stated that he was going to take a step back and really diagnose his career and figure out what the best way to move forward would be for him. Jardine was able to do that with his last two fights, now it's time to see if he's actually learned anything.
The time that Jardine has spent recently on the smaller circuit has given him the well-needed time to refocus himself and plug the holes that he had when he was in dire straits. On Saturday night we'll able to to see for ourselves if this time spent out of the lime light has helped him in any form. If it has then perhaps he'll be able to show us that he has reprogrammed himself from the wild, loopy, and off-beat fighter that he once was to a fighter that's more disciplined. If he can't then he probably never will be able to.
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