by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Keith Jardine (15-6) heads into his UFC 110 bout with “The Ultimate Fighter
8” winner Ryan Bader (10-0) coming off back-to-back loses and hopes to be the
one to put the first blemish on Darth Bader’s undefeated record.
Jardine, known for his awkward striking style and devastating kicks, hasn’t
been in against a wrestler in a long time and certainly never against one with
the accomplishments of the two-time Division-1 All-American Bader, but the
Montana born fighter looks forward to the match-up.
“I’ve been looking forward to fighting a wrestler for some time now,”
Jardine told MMAWeekly.com content partner TapouT Radio.
“We’ll see where this fight is going to go. I think he’s going to try to
stand with me honestly,” added the 34-year-old. “He might force it to the
ground, and if he’s really after those takedowns it’s going to end up on the
ground eventually because he’s a two-time All-American. He’s a great wrestler. Maybe
we’re going to see some of my grappling. It’s been a while since I’ve been
underneath anybody for a good amount of time.”
Bader is going to have the advantage in wrestling against almost anyone,
but Jardine is confident in his ground game and is up for the challenge.
“I get a chance to test my skills now, and that’s the way I look at it, as
a test. The guy throws very hard, very strong punches, but he’s a great
wrestler and he hasn’t really used his wrestling yet,” said Jardine. “He might
break it out for this fight, or he may not, but it’s an exciting test for me.”
Jardine works with world class wrestlers and high level fighters at Team
Jackson’s in Albuquerque, N.M. He says his training partners prepare him for
everything and it gives him confidence knowing training sessions are likely
tougher than the upcoming fight.
“I have such great teammates, and it does a lot for you confidence to work out
with such guys before your fight,” said Jardine. “It gives you a lot of
confidence because you’re not going to see anything like that out there. You’re
not going to see – like I’ll do one round with Georges St-Pierre, a round with
Rashad (Evans), and maybe a round with Nate Marquardt. That’s tougher than any
fight you’re going to get into, so I’m blessed to be in a great gym.”
On paper, Jardine should have a clear advantage striking against Bader, but
he isn’t taking any aspect of the 26-year-old’s game lightly.
“I’ve been watching his boxing a lot in a couple of fights. He doesn’t
bring a lot to the table boxing. He’s not very fancy, but what he does, he does
extremely well,” critiqued Jardine. “He has an extremely fast, hard overhand,
harder than I think anybody in the UFC maybe. That’s pretty much his deal. If
he touches you with that it’s going to hurt. That’s his deal, so I’ve been
looking at that a little bit.
“I think it would be easier for me if his boxing was better because he’s
going to throw punches at strange times and strange angles and it’s going to be
hard for me to pick up the timing,” added "The Dean of Mean." “The
few things he does do, even though it’s a few things, he does them pretty well.”