Brock “The Machine” Jardine is an up-and-coming mixed martial artist looking to make big waves in his second Octagon appearance at UFC 157 this Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.  Although his first appearance last June ended in a decision loss to Rick Story, Jardine impressed the UFC brass.  As a promotional newcomer, he took the fight on short notice after injuries wiped out Story’s first two opponents, and the five-year vet went the distance with a guy who, in the recent past, almost had a shot at the welterweight title.

The decision loss to Story was only the second defeat in Jardine’s pro career, but he didn’t really feel that it was a setback.

“The biggest thing I learned is to have the confidence in myself to compete with the best in the world,” Jardine said in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner.  “It’s one thing to be good enough to be in the UFC, which I felt like I’ve known for a long time—that I had the potential to compete with the best.  But, when your first fight in the UFC is against a guy, who, in many people’s opinions, was one fight away from fighting GSP, that being my first fight in the UFC, it played into my mind a little bit more than it probably should have.  When it was all said and done, I realized that I lost, but it wasn’t like I didn’t deserve to be in the cage.  I did some things good, but there were a lot of things I needed to improve on.  I think that’s what I really took away.  It was a big confidence booster.”

It’s not every day that a fighter talks about a loss as a confidence booster, but that’s one thing that sets Jardine apart.  Even in the face of adversity, he kept a positive mental attitude that will only make him better.

Prior to his UFC debut, Jardine went 9-1 in his first 10 pro fights, with his only loss coming by way of TKO to the always-dangerous Tony Ferguson, eventual winner of The Ultimate Fighter 13 (with a win that culminated with a knockout of Jardine’s training partner, Ramsey Nijem).  Jardine’s loss to Ferguson was about a year prior.

However, Jardine does hold notable wins over veterans Blas Avena and Dave Terrel.  In his 11 fights, he has stopped seven opponents and taken two by decision

Jardine (R) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

As for specific deficits he saw in his fight with Rick Story, Jardine noticed some holes in his stand-up game that he has been able to work on with a full camp.

“I needed to keep my striking tighter,” admitted Jardine.  “That’s something I’ve definitely been working on the last eight months.  It’s been eight months since my fight with Story and all I’ve really worked on—I’m always working on everything overall, but my main goal for this camp—has been my stand-up.  I’ve been working with my boxing coach and my Muay Thai coach.  I’ve been working with John Hackleman when he’s in town, not to try to change my style completely, but just the little things, stay tight, you know?  To me, I’ve definitely made some leaps and bounds in that aspect.”

The 27-year-old native of Canada went to college at Utah Valley University, where he competed in wrestling.  Utah is where Jardine hooked up with the Pit Elevated, home of John Hackleman’s secondary gym in the Beehive State.  At the Pit Elevated, Jardine has some of the best training partners in the game.

“Court McGee, Ramsey Nijem, Steve Siler and Josh Burkman,”  Jardine explained.  “There’s also a lot of guys at the gym that are black belts that I roll with a lot.  We have a pretty good size fight team.  And, also, Danny Gunn, he’s one of our amateur fighters.  But, if you looked at him, you’d say, ‘there’s no way that guy’s an amateur.’  He’s a really big, strong 185-pounder, and he’s one of my main partners for this training camp as well.”

It’s becoming somewhat of a cliché to hear fighters talk about how great their respective camps are, but the honest, soft-spoken Jardine is not one to blow smoke.  He’s very straightforward and knows where he stands.

“I know that every fighter says this, but this really has been the best training camp I’ve ever had,” explained the native Canadian.  “Usually, when I’m training, I really look forward to the fight, because I usually get my butt kicked every day in practice.  You know, it’s hard to have a good day when those teammates of mine are really good and really conditioned athletes. And, usually I’m like, ‘man, I want to fight, so I can have my time to shine.’  I had some really good practices this camp.   One week, in the beginning of this camp, was a rough week of training where I was a little bit sick with the bug that’s been going around.  Like 80 percent of the U.S. caught this flu.  But other than that one bad week at the beginning of camp, I’ve felt great and had great practices, and I’m very confident going into this fight.”

Between his marathon with Story and a full camp to work on his inefficiencies, with one of the best camps in the country nonetheless, Jardine is feeling very good about his preparations.

“It was a nine-week notice, which is three times as much notice as I had for my last one,” Jardine explained.  “I found out two days before Christmas, and all of a sudden Santa didn’t leave me any candy in my stocking.  The first week, I didn’t change anything, just normal practice stuff.  And then I started my eight-week camp the following week.”

For his second fight in the Octagon, Jardine will be facing another fighter with limited UFC experience, Kenny Robertson, who has had only two appearances on the big stage.  Robertson is a submission-heavy fighter, who has won 10 times by stoppage.

“He’s a good wrestler,” admitted Jardine.  “I know he wrestled at Eastern Illinois and was a couple times national qualifier.  Back in my college wrestling days, I kind of remember his name being out there.  So, he’s a really good wrestler.  At the beginning of this camp, I kind of watched a little film.  I don’t watch too much film, because when you start watching too much, you start thinking about ‘How do I counter this?  How do I counter that?’  And, I feel that if I watch too much, I’m not going to focus on the things I’m good at.  Watching him, he looks like he’s coming out hard and definitely likes to use his wrestling at any point in the fight he can to try to get an advantage.”

Robertson has lost his only two UFC fights, which are the only two losses on his pro record.  His first loss was by TKO to Mike Pierce two years ago, and the second was a decision loss to Aaron Simpson last July.  So, even though Jardine and Robertson combine for a 0-3 record in UFC action, all three fights have been against very good opponents.

“I think it’s a great match-up for me,” Jardine stated.  “I feel that I’m better, with no disrespect to him, but I’m better all-around.  Even in the wrestling aspect, he might beat me in a straight-up wrestling match, but this is MMA.  MMA wrestling’s very different.  I’m feeling good, feeling great.  This is the best shape I’ve ever been in.  I can say that, because we have these workouts that we do that are timed.  You know, how long can you sprint on the treadmill at 11 incline at 11 miles-an-hour?  I’ve crushed my previous personal records in this training camp.”

Even though neither of these guys go to decision much, cardio conditioning could prove very important in this battle.  Both guys don’t get finished often, but each will be trying to stop the other.  Jardine’s prediction is simple.

“I always try to finish the fight, but I know he’s a hard guy to finish,” explained Jardine.  “I’m 9-2, he’s 11-2, and we both have only been finished once.  But I’m always looking to finish, whether it’s submission, knockout or TKO.  I feel like I can get a stoppage in the second or third round.”

After this fight, Jardine has big plans for the upcoming year.  And his goals are lofty for a guy that hasn’t fought more than twice a year since 2008, but those goals are very attainable.

Jardine (R) (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

“I keep my goals short-term, so I kind of made some goals for 2013,” shared Jardine.  “I’m looking to win this fight and then have a Matt Brown year—go 3-0, 4-0, in 2013.  If I could get my wish after this fight, I’d come out uninjured, take some time off, and I’d love it if—it would be a dream come true if—I could fight in Vegas for the UFC.  They’re always there, and I know they just recently announced UFC 160.

“I’d like to fight in Vegas for a UFC event.  It’s the hometown of the UFC, so it would be really cool to go there, with all the fans in Vegas.  I’ve been there with my teammates before, so it would be cool to be the one actually fighting.”

With as many fights as the promotion has in Las Vegas every year, this should not be a problem.  However, after all of the cuts that were announced this week and the anticipation of more to come, this is a must-win for Jardine, especially with how many guys were cut for 0-2 records.  He needs this one and needs it bad, but he is still a very focused individual.

Outside of MMA, Jardine has another training partner that takes up a lot of his free time: potty-training, that is.

Jardine is, “trying to be the best dad I can be.  I’ve been very lucky.  The people in my life help me.  I have joint custody of my daughter [Victoria].  I actually just dropped her off before you called.  I at least get her three nights a week, but lately, I’ve been having her five nights a week, because her mom works graveyard shifts.  It’s been really nice.”

“We’re working on potty training right now.  That’s a big worry,” laughed Jardine.

Jardine is a very down-to-earth guy and isn’t really flashy with a big ego.  He’s just a normal guy with a big focus on two areas in life.

“I’m just your everyday guy, trying to be a good father, trying to be a good role model for my daughter,” stated the proud dad.  “I’m living the dream.  It’s proof that hard work pays off.  It’s been a dream of mine, ever since I started fighting, to fight in the UFC.  It takes a lot of hard work.  I’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles.

“About two years ago, I pretty much thought I was done with fighting.  I had an injury and was laid up for a year.  That was really hard, but I overcame that obstacle. Then, I won my next fight, and, a few weeks later, I got the call from the UFC for a short-notice fight.  You’ve got to work hard and always try to keep pursuing your dream.”

Well, pursuing dreams in the ring and potty-training the apple of his eye are the status quo for Brock Jardine.  He may be a native of Canada, but he’s a Pit Elevated fighter all the way.  Jardine has lofty goals for 2013, and the first step is a win over Robertson at UFC 157 this weekend, so he can keep everything moving in the right direction.

Brock would like to thank everyone at the Pit Elevated, and all of his coaches: John Hackleman, Jason Mertlich, Kwame Stephens and Shane Stoneman.  He would also like to thank all of his teammates, VA Mortgage Leader, Will and Heather: “Without them, supporting me, my daughter, and my career, I couldn’t do this.  I’m very blessed to have everyone in my life.”

Top Photo: Brock Jardine (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dan Kuhl
Interview Coordinator