Former UFC fighter Keith Jardine is about to step back into the spotlight in a big, and entirely unexpected way.

Jardine, who made the decision to cut down to middleweight earlier this year will step straight into a title fight with current champion Luke Rockhold for Strikeforce’s January 7th event in Las Vegas.

Rockhold, who defeated Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza to claim the title back in September was originally expected to face Tim Kennedy at the show, but an undisclosed injury will keep him out of action for now.

‘The Dean Of Mean’ was cut from the UFC in 2010 after failing to pick up a win in his previous four Octagon outings, and things went from bad to worse when he subsequently dropped to another defeat against Trevor Prangley in his next fight at Shark Fights 13.

The 36 year-old did however manage to break that run by claiming two victories after that, and was then signed to Strikeforce where he produced an unexpected draw against the heavily favored Gegard Mousasi in April.

Jardine hasn’t fought since then, but it appears it’s been worth his while to wait around as he’s now been thrown into a much higher stakes fight than anyone could have predicted.

Meanwhile, Rockhold is a fighter that Strikeforce have nurtured from early in his career and he’s blossomed from showing early promise to being a real force at 185lbs, winning his last seven fights in a row to go 8-1 overall.