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Exclusive Interview: Keith Jardine

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Several times Keith Jardine has seemed on the verge of breaking into the top echelon of the UFC’s light heavyweight division. His unexpected victories over current 205-pound champ Forrest Griffin and former champ Chuck Liddell showed flashes of his ability, but after each triumph he was brought back down by subsequent knockout losses against Houston Alexander and Wanderlei Silva, respectively.

Now “The Dean of Mean” has another chance to get back in the win column against Brandon Vera at UFC 89 this Saturday. In this exclusive Cage Potato interview, Jardine discusses his next test, his prior losses, and how they all blend together.

*** Hey Keith, thanks for talking with me. With fight night creeping up on us, how has your training been for this one?
KEITH JARDINE: Training has been going great. I’ve had Rashad Evans to work with and then Georges St. Pierre’s been through here. It doesn’t get much better than that. You’ve got to have guys who are going to push you. You can’t just go against people you can beat up. You should be a little nervous to go to practice every day. If you aren’t, then you probably aren’t getting better.

It does sound like you always have lots of great guys coming through Greg Jackson’s to help you prepare. But tell me about Greg himself. I saw a video after your loss to Wanderlei where he said he took full responsibility for the loss. What did he mean by that?
That’s just Greg. That’s just how he is. He takes everything on himself. The truth is it was my fault. I’m the one who lost my focus for a second. You can’t do that against a guy like [Silva].

Well next up you’ve got Brandon Vera, who’s pretty tough as well. What are you expecting out of him on October 18?
He’s one of the most accomplished kickboxers around, plus he’s got great ground skills, so he’s not weak in any area. His muay thai is great and it would really mean a lot to beat him.

Since he is such an accomplished kickboxer do you think you’ll want to stand and trade with him, or would you rather get him to the ground?
No, I’m not worried about any of that. He’s one of the top guys in the weight class and one of the top guys in the world, so I’m just excited to go out there and get a chance to fight him.

After your fight with Liddell, a lot of people remarked on the sizable difference in pay between you. Obviously he’s a big star for the UFC, but he made half a million for losing and you made fourteen grand for winning. That’s got to be a little aggravating, right?
Not really. Dana takes care of us, and I’m not too worried as long as I get the chance to accomplish my dream, and that’s fighting the best guys out there and doing it for a living. The money’s going to be there if I just win fights. It’s all in my hands, really, and that’s all you can ask for. I may not be the most marketable guy like some of these other fighters, but if I keep winning fights it won’t matter. It’s up to me.

You mention your marketability as a fighter. What affect does that have on your career? Do you see yourself as being unmarketable?
No, but I’m kind of the blue-collar fighter in the UFC. Nobody’s packaged me and promoted me the way they’ve been able to do with some other guys, so I guess I don’t really get some of those big sponsorships or some of those fights. I just have to keep plodding along and keep winning and make it all happen for myself. But, you know, that’s my job. That’s what I do.

As far as your fight with Brandon Vera, where do you think the winner and the loser will find themselves in the UFC’s light heavyweight picture after this is all over?
I think the winner is an automatic contender for the title. The winner gets thrown in that mix. The loser has to go back and try and work his way back up. I know what that’s like, and I don’t want to be there again.

Some guys really dislike fighting in foreign countries. Are you worried about how the travel to the U.K. will affect you?
I’ve fought in foreign countries before. I fought in Japan and I fought in Moscow. I am a little worried about jetlag since I know what that’s like. When I fought in Moscow I actually fell asleep after my warm-up. But I’m going there early to give myself time to recover and get used to it. But other than that it’s almost like a vacation. I get to go to England and fight in a new place and I’m looking forward to it.

Since you’ve been kind of up and down the last couple of years, what have you learned that you can bring into this fight with you? How have you mentally prepared for it?
It’s just an accumulation of all your fights. Every fight you get wiser and stronger. You learn something you can put into use in your next fight. I feel like I’m the most prepared I can be for this fight because of all the other fights I’ve had and everything I’ve learned, and that makes it easier to go in there and do what you have to.

Thanks, Keith. Anything else you want to add?
Just look forward to a great fight, and check out my website at

(— Ben Fowlkes)

Cagepotato Comments

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GearHead- October 14, 2008 at 6:17 pm
Jardine is a class act all the way. Never gives excuses when he loses, and never whines about the times he clearly should have gotten a decision and didn't. A credit to the sport, to show the pissers and moaners how it's done. My favorite fighter. And God, I love that beard !!! Happy Birthday, Oct. 31st, Keith. We love you, dude!!!!
Meca hiny ho- October 12, 2008 at 9:47 pm
I want to see Jardine knock Vera silly and make him cry like Forest. Don't know who to pick yet, though.
verykrysp- October 12, 2008 at 6:48 pm
yeah with his beard he looks like a mean garden gnome
FORDY 41- October 12, 2008 at 6:44 pm
Vera gunna put a stamp on this kid in the first round!!!
Kelvin- October 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm
Tough fight to call.
C-Bus Allstar- October 12, 2008 at 6:25 pm
Sad Jardine is Sad.
man- October 12, 2008 at 6:21 pm
i really like this guy, plus vera is a tool. if he wins, it'll definately make my week (or month/year, depending on how he wins)
Jeff- October 12, 2008 at 6:12 pm
Keith seems too smart and humble to have ever became a pro fighter.

Oh, and KEEP THE BEARD, and make that bloody-teeth-mouthguard your staple. Little things like that that make you unique is how you become more marketable. Where would Chuck be without his mohawk and mustache?
Tombo Schutz- October 12, 2008 at 4:55 pm
that dean of mean seems pretty cool
Teila Tuli's Tooth- October 12, 2008 at 4:36 pm
I'd definately like to see him beat Vera and get a rematch with Forrest regardless what happends between Forrest and Rashad.
Fenix- October 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm
"I like Jardine, but please lose that stupid fucking beard."

matt- October 12, 2008 at 4:22 pm
i meant he got a huge fight with wandy...haha
matt- October 12, 2008 at 4:21 pm
the problem with kieth is that every time he gets to the point where he is closing in on a title shot, he gets completley demolished, after he beat forrest he was up there and then he gets beat by a nobody at the time in houston and he didnt just get beat he got demolished, then he comes back and beats the former champ chuck liddell putting himself one win away from a title shot or so and then he gets a huge fight with jardine and gets completly embarrassed again, i think if he won this fight he would be fighting forrest again not rashad.
First-national-dank- October 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm
I like Jardine, but please lose that stupid fucking beard. It makes you look like a giant douchebag. I'm betting on you (Jardine) for this fight, make me rich please!
MeatHookJones- October 12, 2008 at 3:48 pm
Has anybody read the Brandon Vera bio in the wikki section? It says he's a hermaphrodite or something to that effect. I hate both Jardine and Vera and could only hope this fight ends in a double decapitation head kick. Then we would never have to hear Vera speak again or look at Jardines 70 year old face anymore.
Vrax- October 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm
Caption: "You think Ming was Mericiless? Look upon my scalp, do you see any mercy? No! For this is the scalp of a man without conscience."
kazanski- October 12, 2008 at 3:31 pm
Jardines fights are boring unless he gets knocked out, those fights are exciting. Maybe if he brought more to the table than the Ruas leg strikes of 95 he would be marketable. Also the fact that he looks like a like a Progerie kid probably does not help either.
Fenix- October 12, 2008 at 3:22 pm

I agree with you 100% Jardine deserves to be in the mix. I actually caught a replay last night of a DVR'd UFC Unleashed fight between Forrest and Jardine. Man, it never gets old seeing Forrest cry like a lil punk. :P
Very Elusive- October 12, 2008 at 3:18 pm
^He answered that question a couple of times in the past already, the answer being: there is no way he will fight his friend and training partner Rashad under any circumstances..
Very Elusive- October 12, 2008 at 3:18 pm
^He answered that question a couple of times in the past already, the answer being: there is no way he will fight his friend and training partner Rashad..
Drew- October 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm
Damn Fowlkes! Why did you not follow up on the title shot question with this: What happens if Rashad wins against Forrest, is he willing to fight him for the belt?
Brandon Sanchez- October 12, 2008 at 3:11 pm
Thanks Mr. Fowlkes.
Kevbo- October 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm
@ Smackdaddiest1

He followed with "The winner gets thrown in that mix." How could Jardine not be a contender for the title against a cry baby that he already destroyed?! He also beat Chuck who would have gotten a shot if he beat Rashad... makes no sense there either. Jardine deserves a shot and is one tough motha. If anyone thinks otherwise then they are a fool.
ADW- October 12, 2008 at 2:57 pm
The caption should read: "My precious...." Cuz Jardine looks like Gollum.
TopAthlete- October 12, 2008 at 2:37 pm
Daym Jardine aging badly....