A popular fighter who suffered a series of losses that lead him to being released from the UFC, ‘The Dean Of Mean’ Keith Jardine is now preparing to get back on track with a fight with Strikeforce’s Trevor Prangley at Shark Fights 13.

In a new interview with the Bloody Elbow site, Jardine talks about his release for the UFC, his upcoming fight, and his goal to return to the UFC as soon as possible.

The 34 year-old spent five years in the UFC, and he says that since getting his walking papers in June he’s not had much of a chance to feel sorry for himself.

“You know, I haven’t had much time to think about it, really, because once the UFC released me, I was basically– first of all, all the offers that came in for fights were just incredible and made me feel pretty good. And I just wanted to get a fight as quick as possible, and then Shark Fights called right away – I mean, like, the next week – and I accepted the fight.”

So now he faces former UFC and current Strikeforce fighter Trevor Prangley, not exactly the easiest opponent he could have chosen to get back to winning ways.

“If I was a smarter guy, then I’d go beat up a couple guys and get a couple knockouts and get back in there,” he confesses.  “But, yeah, my ego gets in the way and I’m not that smart sometimes when it comes to my career.”

To Jardine, Prangley represents a tough challenge, and that’s something that Jardine appears drawn to.

“it’s not quite the way it was supposed to happen, but, you know, that’s why I fight. I wanna fight all the best fighters, and Prangley’s an incredible fighter. He’s not the most exciting fighter in the world – that’s why he’s not beating up people in the UFC – but he’s definitely a tough guy.

The Shark Fights event is scheduled to be shown on pay-per-view on the 11th of September, but regardless of whether it’s a success or not, if he wins Jardine doesn’t plan on sticking around for future shows.

“I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to fight for these guys again, because I’ll never forget this opportunity they’re giving me, but my goal is always to get back in the UFC and get back in the title picture.”

When he was released from the UFC Jardine was given assurances that if he could get get a few wins under his belt then they’d bring him back, though the fighter isn’t quite sure how many it will take.

“You know, I figure two. But if I have an impressive showing in a couple weeks, it could happen as fast as that. But I’m not preoccupied right now with that because I’m in training mode and this one fight is so big for me. But if I take myself out of that a little bit, I see two fights and I’m back in.”

It won’t be easy, but Jardine believes he’ll get the first win under his belt against Prangley, who he sees as similar in style to his recent opponents in the UFC.

“This is my third wrestler in a row and he’s very similar to some of the guys I’ve fought. He’s got very good boxing, but just nothing really special. He’s just really almost boxing by the numbers, real orthodox, and he’s a good wrestler. He just wants to find a clinch and take you down. And that’s the third wrestler in a row I’ve fought, and he’s not quite the caliber of the last two wrestlers I fought.”

I think he’s correct in his assessment.  Prangley is a tough, durable veteran, but he’s no more challenging than his recent opponents like Matt Hamill who he went to a split decision just a few months ago, or Ryan Bader who is a younger and significantly better version of Prangley.

It is still a risky fight though, particularly as at this stage of his career Jardine’s chin, which was never strong to begin with, has let him down on a regular basis over the past few years.

I still think he can defeat Prangley though, and if he does so he won’t be far off a recall to the big stage.

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