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The new old Jardine

I was thinking of doing a ‘Who’s gonna get fired if they lose’ post for the TUF finale this Saturday but it basically boils down to Keith Jardine and the TUF contestants who don’t win. Jardine has been surprisingly unsuccessful over the past three years. We’re used to him winning some, losing some, but at this point he’s 2-5 since 2007 with both wins being coin toss split decisions. If Matt Hamill beats him, that’ll be loss number four in a row. And unless your name is Stephan Bonnar, you don’t get to stay in the UFC with a record like that.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the reluctant techno viking. Keith thinks his problems relate not to a weak chin and gameplan that relies on confusion via shuffling tango, but to his attempts at developing a proper striking game. He’ll be attempting to throw out a few years worth of learning how to do things right in the hopes that his wrong striking style will return him to winning form:

“I don’t want to give too much away,” he said of his old unorthodox approach, “but it was more movement and timing and posture. It’s more doing it on purpose rather than by accident. Some of the times I’ve gotten caught, I’ve been trying to be a little too orthodox, actually, a little too clean.

“It was like I read a how-to boxing book and I was a little too planned in everything I was doing. It was like, ‘All right, now I’m going to step this way and do this combination, take this angle and do that.’ ”

That required a lot of thinking in a sport which acting instinctively means a lot. By the time he thought of the move he needed to make, he was getting hit on the chin. After much analysis and much agonizing, he decided to take the simplest approach to solving his problem. He decided to do what he does naturally and not to think so hard about his flaws.

His unorthodox style worked; the orthodox one didn’t. Plus, the unorthodox style was the one that came more naturally to him. He’s back to being the old “Dean of Mean” and has given up on trying to turn himself into something he’s not.

“Now, I’m just relaxing and flowing freely and [trying to] have fun,” Jardine said. “I’ve just decided to relax a bit. Since I’ve been doing that, my sparring, my practices, everything has been off the charts. I’m a completely new person, I feel like.”

That’s right everyone, get ready for Jardine 1.0! But realistically, I’m not too sure what kind of difference to expect on Saturday night … I remember him having the same goofy style back when he was winning to when he was losing. More likely, he’s just topped out talent wise right around the Ryan Bader level of competition. Fortunately for him, that might be just enough to get past Matt Hamill.