“Ultimate Fighter” season two contestant Keith Jardine (17-9-2), will be dropping down to the middleweight division for his next MMA fight with the Strikeforce promotion. Jardine is expected to fight on the Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal MMA fight card, scheduled for Dec. 17.
Strikeforce is yet to select an opponent for Jardine, but the veteran MMA fighter has already indicated a desire to fight former middleweight champion Cung Le.
“Just looking out there, they need to get a fight for me, and it needs to be a big named guy, I want it to be a big named guy.” Jardine told MMAWeekly.com earlier in the month. “Looking at Strikeforce seeing who they’ve got and there’s not much bigger than Cung Le. I thought that would be a great match-up,”
Jardine impressed many UFC fans coming off the reality TV series, winning four of his first five fights with the promotion. Jardine held his own against some of the UFC’s top light-heavyweights, earning wins over tough MMA fighters like Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, and Brandon Vera.
Jardine’s relationship with the UFC came to an end in 2009, when the Montana native lost four fights in a row. Many thought Jardine’s MMA career was over when he lost his fifth straight fight in his Strikeforce debut against Trevor Prangley.
Jardine proved the doubters wrong by not only winning his next two MMA fights, but also holding his own against former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi on eight days notice.
Now Jardine feels the middleweight division will give him the best opportunity to win a championship.
Given his frame, Jardine will be one of the larger middleweights in the promotion. If Jardine is able to maintain his strength and endurance, he should be successful in the middleweight division.
I’m not sure Cung Le would be his best option, given the Vietnamese-American MMA fighter’s striking prowess. While Jardine plans to make the cut to middleweight with Mike Dolce (regarded by many as one of the best trainers in the sport), fatigue might still be an issue when it’s time to fight.