“[Keith Jardine’s] got nothing to lose and this is his way back to Zuffa or the UFC and he’s a dangerous opponent. He beat Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, both former UFC champions. He’s not someone to take lightly. He can be dangerous in his awkward standup… This kind of fight is where I have the most to lose because people expect me to win, especially since he’s taking the fight on such short notice. This is the type of fight that I can’t win a lot, because if I win they’ll say that, ‘well, you won over somebody that wasn’t prepared,’ and if I lose, it’s (to) somebody that got kicked out of the UFC… It’s a difficult situation and there’s not much I can gain.”

— Gegard Mousasi talking to The Bleacher Report about his upcoming fight against Keith Jardine

Unfortunately, Gegard Mousasi is spot on in his assessment of the risks involved with fighting Keith Jardine this Saturday at Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Daley.” If he drops this fight, he’ll be called “overrated” for losing to a fighter who hasn’t beat a recognizable opponent since Oct. 2008 and it will devalue his worth with a potential UFC merger looming.

On the other hand, I’d argue that Keith Jardine has even more to lose than Mousasi. The last thing he wants to do is continue fighting on the regional and local circuits for shady promoters. This is his shot at making it back to the big leagues where he know he’s going to get a paycheck that’s guaranteed to clear at the end of night. Mousasi’s still young enough to rebound from another Strikeforce loss, but at 35 years of age, Jardine’s opportunities are dwindling. I don’t think Jardine will come out on top Saturday night, but hopefully he turns in the type of performance that convinces Strikeforce to give him another chance with a proper training camp.

Image via Esther Lin for Strikeforce/Showtime