(Look at it this way, Keith, now you’ll have plenty of down time to figure out the air speed velocity of both the African AND the European swallow.)
I come to you with a bit of mixed news this afternoon, Potato Nation. In a recent interview with MMAFightCorner, UFC/Strikeforce veteran Keith Jardine announced that he would be stepping away from the sport for an undisclosed period to address several lingering injuries, stating the following:
A lot of people have been pushing me to retire, I’ve been a shell of myself these last couple years. I’ve been saying I’m definitely on the shelf, I’m semi-retired, I’m definitely on the shelf right now.
…my approach right now is I’m trying to get myself healthy. And then once I feel like I’m ready to go out and to perform at a level I want to and shock the world, I want to do it. I got to do it again. I don’t care if I win or lose, but I just want to go out there and perform and be Keith Jardine which I haven’t been in the last couple of years. When I dropped to middleweight it was a disaster, it was stupid. It made everything worse.
As we all know, Jardine is considered by many to be one of the nicest guys in the sport, despite the fact that he looks like the kind of person who has an unfinished basement stockpiled with barrels of lye and a human-sized cage that he claims is for his pet Dodo. So first and foremost, we’d like to congratulate him for at least addressing the fact that he has not been performing to the best of his abilities in recent years. On the other hand, Jardine was never a world beater to begin with (his longest UFC win streak stands at 2), and perhaps his struggles as of late are a sign that the game has passed him by more than anything else.
Granted, we’re not really sure why Jardine would announce that he was “semi-retired” if he is already planning his comeback. Tito Ortiz gave us six months of silence, so perhaps this announcement is Jardine’s way of slowly coming to that same realization. We’re not saying “The Dean of Mean” can’t “shock the world” like he did against Chuck Liddell at UFC 76, but just take a look at Jardine’s record with us for a second:
In the past three years, his greatest victory by far was a tie with Gegard Mousasi. Throw in a handful of KO losses, a bust in his Shark Fights debut against Trevor Prangley, and a pair of wins over a couple journeymen, and it does not paint a pretty picture for the likelihood of a Jardine comeback. Just don’t tell that to Jardine’s mom, or she will straight up drop your ass.
But unfortunately for Jardine, there’s no surgery out there that allows one to take a better punch, and Jardine simply cannot take as good of one as he used to — a realization that ironically helped Chuck Liddell accept the terms of his own retirement following UFC 115.
Would we like to see Jardine mount an epic career comeback? Surely, but there’s just something about the hope in his words that breaks our hearts a little. Because hope is a dangerous thing. Some say it can drive a man insane. For every Randy Couture, there are at least a few Matt Lindlands that make you die a little more inside when you see them step into the ring. And to be honest, Jardine is the kind of guy we’d rather see go quietly into that good night than suffer any more abuse.
While we all debate whether Jardine’s recent statements should inspire or depress us in the comments section, let’s first take a look at the Keith Jardine of old. We’ve thrown the video of Jardine’s very first UFC appearance — a heavyweight contest at the TUF 2 Finale that pitted Keith against a drunken diabetic named “Meat Truck” who had just escaped from a nearby prison before stumbling into the Hard Rock — below, so check it out before you render your verdict on “The Dean of Mean.”
FYI: The infamous conversation about Keith “The Dean of Mean” Johnson starts around the 5:50 mark.