Nathan Marquardt has long been considered among the very best of MMA’s middleweight division. Nearly a decade invested into the fighting sport with close to forty fights against the best in the game, Marquardt is a three time Pancrase middleweight champion and has notched wins against some of the toughest fighters in the business. Experienced and dangerous veterans like Dean Lister, Jeremy Horn, and most recently, Martin Kampmann have all fallen prey to the man that is widely known as simply, “Nate the Great.”
The twenty nine-year old Denver, Colorado native was recently rumored to be under serious consideration to become one of the coaches of the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter before Dan Henderson was announced to fill the spot, and it’s not very hard to see why Marquardt would be given that type of consideration. He has long been respected as one of the sports most well rounded and battle tested athletes.
“I had discussed possibly becoming one of the coaches for the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter but they didn’t choose me this time,” explained Marquardt in an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com.
Although the stars didn’t align right for Marquardt to make his television coaching debut this time around, he’s not counting it out for the future. As a matter of fact, the idea is one that he welcomes.
“I’m sure that it’s a possibility for the future because it’s definitely something that I would want to do,” Marquardt went on to say.
In 2009, being considered one of the best will no longer be enough for the freakishly powerful 185 pounder. This is the year that Marquardt aims to take over the middleweight division and assert himself as the most dominant predator in a division filled with carnivores.
In order to obtain that goal, Marquardt absolutely requires success in an impressive fashion this Saturday night against another of the division’s most dangerous combatants, American Top Team trained, Wilson Gouveia. The two will face off at UFC 95 from London in a bout where the winner will be undoubtedly sky rocketed in the consideration of who should get the next crack at the middleweight championship.
Marquardt has never had an easy time of it since his arrival in the UFC. He has consistently been matched up with some of the best the promotion has had to offer. Marquardt’s impending battle with the vicious Gouveia will be just another day at the office for the formidable octagon veteran.
“Wilson is a tough guy,” admits Marquardt. “He’s just as tough as anyone that I have faced. At this level of fighting you’re not going to get an easy opponent.”
There is no denying that Gouveia, is as hazardous as they come in the UFC, whether it be on the ground or on the feet, the crafty Brazilian has the capability to end any contest at the drop of a dime. Marquardt’s a realist though. He knows his opponent is a threat, but a threat that Marquardt assures that he will be able to handle come fight time.
“He’s good on his feet and he’s good on the ground,” Marquardt assessed. “I think that it just boils down to, I’m better.”
Never one to question his ability or training before a fight, the Greg Jackson trained fighter possesses an abundance of confidence heading into his bout with Gouveia this Saturday night and leaves no question as to what his intentions will be once the cage door is slammed shut.
“I feel really good about this fight,” Marquardt said. “I just want to go out there and put on a really good performance and hopefully finish him. I definitely want to finish him.”
Being focused on a finish in his fight with Gouveia is a good place to be, mentally, for Marquardt. Outside of his pending date with Gouveia, he only has one thing on his mind, and it’s redemption.
Redemption for coming up so short and under performing to his full abilities when it mattered most. Marquardt wants another chance at current middleweight king, Anderson Silva, and a convincing win over someone of Gouveia’s caliber could be the final push that Marquardt needs to go in that direction.
“I really feel that a win over Gouveia would put me in line to have another shot at Anderson Silva,” contends Marquardt. “As long as I put on a really good performance I think that a rematch with Silva would be a good possibility.”
Regardless of how impressive Marquardt is in this Saturday’s bout with Gouveia, he knows that he will have to wait his turn, as an extremely familiar face has the next shot at the seemingly unstoppable Silva.
At UFC 85, Marquardt put on one of his most impressive performances in a losing effort against scheduled Silva challenger, Thales Leites. Nate was dominant in the bout, repeatedly pummeling Leites throughout, but was penalized points on two separate occasions. One of the points deducted was for striking to the back of the head and was seen as highly questionable by most of the MMA community. It was that point that cost Marquardt the bout in a contest that he had visibly won.
Is he bothered by the fact that Leites is getting the next crack at Anderson? Not at all according to Marquardt, just as long as he doesn’t win.
“If he’s able to use his game plan to get Anderson to the ground, he could put Anderson in a lot of trouble,” theorized Marquardt. “Thales is a world class fighter on the ground and Silva is definitely not a world class fighter on the ground.”
“It doesn’t bother me at all. Actually it’s kind of flattering that he’s getting a title shot but it might bother me a little bit if he beats Silva because I want to be the one to beat him.”
Marquardt has been on an absolute tear through the middleweight division since his loss to Silva at UFC 73. He is convinced that the loss was a positive thing for him. It has helped to focus in on what is the most important thing to him in his established fighting career, being known as the best.
“Technically I have gotten a lot better in so many areas since fighting Anderson,” explained Marquardt. “I have gotten technically better with my stand up, with my wrestling, my endurance and my strength has gone way up.
“I think that the main thing is that I am a lot stronger mentally and I think that would be a huge factor in a rematch with Anderson. I’m an a lot more dangerous fighter now.”