Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Montana is known more for its sprawling plains, untouched wilderness and frigid winters than giving rise to top-flight mixed martial artists. However, the fourth-largest state in America has produced its share of MMA talent, most notably Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Keith Jardine, aka “The Dean of Mean.”
Jardine used an unorthodox but highly effective striking style to confound opponents and keep them out of sync. The Butte, Montana, native climbed the ladder at the regional level before arriving in the UFC, as he enjoyed success in the Rage in the Cage, King of the Cage and M-1 Global promotions. Jardine was cast on Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series in 2005, losing to eventual winner and future UFC champion Rashad Evans in the semifinals.
Operating out of the Jackson-Wink MMA camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jardine compiled a 6-7 record in the UFC but made a name for himself with upset victories over future hall of famers Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin. Now 40 and inactive since a July 2012 loss to Roger Gracie in Strikeforce, he has never officially retired from MMA. Jardine’s record currently sits at 17-11-2.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Lloyd Woodard, Alex Schoenauer, Tim Welch