UFC 102: New and improved Keith Jardine ready to make a run to the top against Thiago Silva

Props: USA Today

Quoteworthy:

"The winner's still going to be top tier in the world and looking for a title fight, and fighting contenders, and the loser's definitely going to drop off.... It's just another fight, man. I'm fighting a really tough guy, a top-rated guy. I'm just in it for the fight, man. I don't care about all that other stuff.... More than anything, not too many people have been fighting the quality of people that I've been fighting from fight to fight. And I have had a few holes in my game, and I feel like I've been improving. I think I've fixed a lot of those holes.... It's a new and improved me, and it's the start of a run for me to the top of the UFC. That's the way I'm looking at it.... I've never been in a boring fight. It's going to be another really exciting fight. ... Fight of the Night-caliber fight."

Keith Jardine talks about fighting the best in the talent-rich 205-pound class, including former champions, Chuck Liddell, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Wanderlei Silva and Forrest Griffin, as well as other tough guys such as Brandon Vera, Houston Alexander and Wilson Gouveia. As a result, "The Dean of Mean" has had a tough time earning a title shot -- he has been unable to string together a consistent winning formula (he's 4-3 against the competition). He's up against another stiff test this weekend when he takes on the previously unbeaten and hard-hitting Thiago Silva (13-1) at UFC 102: "Couture vs. Nogueira" from the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon. Can Jardine get over the hump and make a run at the division title or will Silva once again send him back to the end of the line?

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