After five years, 13 fights and four straight losses, Keith Jardine’s tenure with the UFC is over.
UFC President Dana White confirmed to MMA Fighting that the company has cut ties with the Ultimate Fighter season two alumni after his recent majority decision loss to Matt Hamill at last Saturday’s TUF 11 finale.
“It sucks,” White said. “I have nothing but respect for him and I hope to see him back soon.”
Jardine — nicknamed “The Dean of Mean — first gained national attention in 2005 while on TUF, where he was eliminated from the competition by future friend and training partner Rashad Evans. He started his official UFC tenure with wins in four of his first five fights, including a TKO win over future champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 66. That win was expected to rocket him into contender status in the light-heavyweight division, but a shocking upset derailed his forward momentum.
At UFC 71, he’d been scheduled to face David Heath, but after Heath was moved into a different match, Jardine was paired with little-known Houston Alexander. At the time, Jardine was a huge favorite, but Alexander knocked him out in just 48 seconds. That began a see-saw stretch in which he struggled to find the consistency he needed to establish himself as a true championship contender.
After seemingly bouncing back with a split-decision win over Chuck Liddell, Jardine was ranked by some sites among the top ten light-heavyweights in the world, but in his next bout, he was knocked out by Wanderlei Silva. After another split-decision win, this time over Brandon Vera, Jardine hit the skids, dropping four straight, with losses to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Thiago Silva, Ryan Bader and finally, Hamill.
Prior to his final bout, Jardine was aware his future could be on the line, but he couldn’t hold off Hamill in a closely fought match. Ironically, the bout was competitive enough to earn Jardine a $25,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus, but was not enough to save his job.
The 34-year-old Jardine (15-8-1 overall) finished his UFC run with a 6-7 mark.