Strikeforce middleweight champ will put his belt on the line in early 2012 as expected but will not do so against Tim Kennedy, a deserving contender with success at 185 pounds who was unfortunately sidelined with a recent injury. Stepping in for Kennedy will be seasoned veteran Keith Jardine.
The 17-9-2 “Dean of Mean” will be making his divisional debut at the event after a slew of success at light heavyweight including wins over former UFC champions Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell. He is coming off a Draw against Gegard Mousasi in his first appearance under the Strikeforce banner.’
News of the bout was reported by MMAFighting, citing sources close to the event, but Strikeforce has yet to confirm the show or match-up on an official level.
Rockhold was last seen outpointing Ronaldo Souza in September to win the middleweight title. He holds an overall record of 8-1 with notable victories in the past against Jesse Taylor and Paul Bradley.
The unnamed Strikeforce event hosting Rockhold vs. Jardine is scheduled for January 7 in Las Vegas.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE