Esther Lin for Strikeforce
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight contender Keith Jardine updates the current status of his mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting career and reflects on the poor health choices he made that affected him over the last couple of years.
"The Dean of Mean" had some impressive victories inside the Octagon, defeating the likes of Forrest Griffin and Brandon Vera. His most impressive win, however, was at UFC 76, when he upset former 205-pound champion and all-around legend, Chuck Liddell.
After dropping four straight under the UFC banner, getting cut from the promotion and then proceeding to go 2-3-1 in his last six bouts, not much has been heard from Jardine since his last bout, a loss to Roger Gracie at Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" back in July of 2012.
Is he retired? Does he still have some fight left in him?
"The Mean 1" spoke to MMA Fight Corner about the current stage of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career:
"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. I've just been looking at my health and my fitness. The way I've been approaching things has been way wrong. I've been educating myself. I've been doing this Bulletproof stuff. My nutrition was just backwards, my working out was backwards, I was a zombie walking around for the last two years. So that's 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 even worse. It magnified all of my health issues that I was dealing with."
Jardine also talked about the ‘mistakes' he made in the past which includes dropping down to the middleweight division and training at full speed right after getting knocked out, which he's been on the receiving end of five times during his career.
"One thing with fighters though, the main thing, and I'm sure that is going to hold true with everybody, I was so stupid back then. I remember I fought Houston Alexander and I got caught in that fight. Well, I was back in the gym the following week helping Rashad (Evans) train and I was just getting hit in the back of the head and I was like, ‘whoa, this doesn't feel quite right.' I knew I wasn't quite right, but nobody was telling me not to. It was like, ‘Hey look at Keith, he's doing a good job, he's the hardest worker in the gym. He's in there training.' I was like no, someone needed to send me home."
Perhaps, this is why UFC President Dana White is so protective of his fighter's health.
Despite his current semi-retirement, Jardine is still a part of the famed Jackson-Winkeljohn gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is determined to return to action sooner or later before he officially hangs up his fight gloves for good.
But is that a hot idea? And should head trainers and coaches be more stringent like athletic commissions when it comes to protecting their fighters health?