Despite once being hailed as one of the sport’s top up-and-coming light heavyweight contenders, Keith Jardine , 34, has fell on hard times as of late. After dropping his last four bouts, and only recording two wins in his last eight Octagon appearances, reports have surfaced that the ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ alumni has been released by Dana White and the UFC.

With his trademark goatee beard and shaved head, Jardine made a name for himself as a member of Team Franklin on ‘The Ultimate Fighter 2’. Even though he lost to eventual tournament winner, and future training partner Rashad Evans in a hard fought decision loss, Jardine was given the opportunity to fight in the UFC against some of the best in the world.

After finishing his tenure in the ‘TUF’ house and dropping down to his natural 205 weight class, it took very little time for “The Dean of Mean” to establish himself as one of the better light heavyweights in the UFC.

Even though Greg Jackson trained Jardine to victories over Forrest Griffin , Chuck Liddell and Brandon Vera , he has struggled against top-level competition; falling short against Wanderlai Silva , Quinton Jackson , Thiago Silva , Ryan Bader , and Matt Hamill .

Although Jardine will most likely have the opportunity to rejoin the UFC after posting a couple of quality victories against less competitive opponents elsewhere in the sport, the question now is where he will fight in the meantime. The obvious choice would likely be Strikeforce, North America’s nearly unanimous B league, but if Jardine plans on getting back inside the Octagon, he may plan on fighting with a non-direct competitor of the UFC. Look for Jardine to wind up competing under the Maximum Fighting Championships’ banner (where an overabundance of UFC cast-offs end up), or taking a tour of Japan, where the appearance, persona, and fight style of fighters are largely more important than wins and losses.