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Luke Rockhold & Keith Jardine Get Vocal Prior To Strikeforce Title Fight

This weekend’s Strikeforce middleweight title fight between Luke Rockhold and Keith Jardine has been flying under the radar for a variety of reasons. It seems both Rockhold and Jardine set out to change that this week though by making some rather uncharacteristically bold statements when the media finally turned their attention to this weekend’s Strikeforce show. For instance, Rockhold said he’s gunning for Anderson Silva while notorious nice guy Keith Jardine said “screw you” to anybody who thinks he doesn’t deserve a shot at Rockhold.

Here’s a rundown of quotes via MMA Junkie, Yahoo! Sports, MMA Fighting,, LowKick, StudioMMA and USA Today:

Luke Rockhold on Brock Lesnar:

“Did you see him singing the rap country? When he started rapping along to the country song I was like ‘ what the hell is this guy doing?’ I almost saw his lip quivering as he was walking into the cage. He just looked like he was playing a role. He was kind of believing his own hype that people were putting in his ear. I saw true confidence out of Overeem and a true fighter… I think he brought a whole new audience to the sport. So I can’t exactly say it’s a negative. People really need to see who the true fighters are. Lesnar’s not the best in the world. He just got the right matchups and the right fights.”

Rockhold on the lack of depth in the Strikeforce roster:

“All the guys that are rated the highest are in the UFC right now. It’d be nice if we could get some of those guys in our division over here in Strikeforce, because it doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere. If they could bring them in to challenge, I’d be more than (willing) to welcome those guys into Strikeforce and put my belt on the line for them.”

Rockhold on Anderson Silva:

UFC-wise — anybody over there. I don’t care; I’d fight anybody in the top 10. They say Anderson Silva’s only got four fights left; I want to be one of those four fights. I want to get on that track. Whoever I’ve got to go through to get there, that’s what I want…. It’s always been a dream to fight the best in the world; that’s what I live for. I hate second place. I hate being second best. I want to challenge myself against the best in the world, and right now, all the highest-rated guys are in the UFC. I think me, Kennedy and Jacare are very underrated in this sport and in our divisions. I think we could possibly beat any of those guys in the top 10. I think we’re all tough.

Keith Jardine on critics who say he shouldn’t be fighting for the Strikeforce middleweight title:

“I say ‘Screw you, whoever says that.’ It’s been a long trip to get to this point. I’m just so thrilled and honored to be here. I’m glad that Luke took this fight. I’m grateful for that.”

“Honestly, since I knew that would happen, I haven’t looked at any MMA media, I haven’t turned on my Twitter, I haven’t done any of that stuff, because I knew there would be a lot of negative energy out there. But, you know what? To all of those people out there, we’ll see on Saturday. I’m very confident about the way it’s going to look. I’m not even worried about it. I don’t care. I know in my heart that I’m a new person at Middleweight, and I’m going to shock the world. I’m going to climb to the top of the ranks. This here is just the beginning for me. I’m confident in myself, I don’t care what anybody else says.”

Rockhold’s take on Jardine fighting for the title:

No. I can’t say I think he deserves a title shot, but at the same time, I think it’s a tough fight and I’m not taking him lightly. I don’t think many people could say he deserves a title shot, but given the current roster with Strikeforce and the middleweights and contenders and whatnot — Tim Kennedy says he’s having some problems with his body, from what I hear, so he’s not ready to step up. I don’t believe Jacare’s ready for a rematch; I was ready for that, if that were to come. They saw Keith Jardine — maybe he’s a big name. He’s a tough opponent. He’s been in there with all the best guys.

“I want to fight guys who have earned their spot. Keith Jardine is more of a last-minute replacement – a short-notice fight, and it is what it is. In the future, I want to fight top guys that will move me up in the divisional rankings. Most of the top-ranked guys are all in the UFC. In most of the rankings, I’m the only guy in the Top 10 who isn’t in the UFC. I hope they can bring in new blood, some new contenders, because we need to find out who the true No. 1 contender is in this sport. Anderson Silva is the best, no doubt, but I believe I can compete and beat anyone in this division.”

Jardine on cutting to 185 for the first time:

“I’ve never been down to 185, since my freshman year of high school probably… I’m big.”

“I was like 211 (pounds) a few weeks ago, and [Mike Dolce’s] all, ‘Nah, man, you’re way ahead of schedule.’ Don’t worry about it. He will always give me examples of other guys he works with, so he always keeps my mind at ease… Every time I start to panic about my weight, he’s right there,” Jardine said. “I’m just so confident right now. I’m not even worried about it.”

Rockhold on Jardine’s weight cut:

“I think it’s going to be an issue with him coming down weight to 185 pounds. I think his cardio has been questionable, and coming down to 185 pounds I believe should hurt him a little bit. My cardio is off the charts, and I’m looking to expose him in every area. I’m going to really put the pressure on him and this fight will be in my favor the longer it goes.”

Reminder: Showtime is kicking off a free preview weekend tonight, so if you’re capable of getting Showtime, you should be able to watch this weekend’s Strikeforce card for free.

Image via Esther Lin for Strikeforce/Showtime

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