Nate Marquardt was extremely impressive in his welterweight debut after an extended run at 185 pounds, stopping Tyron Woodley with strikes to become Strikeforce champion. However, Marquardt looked like a shell of himself in last night’s follow-up to the fight, getting picked apart by underdog Tarec Saffiedine and ultimately outpointed on the scorecards to lose his divisional strap.

Most notable in the bout was an onslaught of leg kicks from the Belgian striker leaving Marquardt’s left limb looking as though it had been attacked by a swarm of angry bees. In fact, the damage was so bad Marquardt understandably went home on crutches.

Marquardt was as surprised by the showing as most onlookers, saying after the tilt he entered the cage fully prepared and as fit as possible but couldn’t find an answer for Saffiedine’s assault.

“I had a great camp, I came in shape, obviously I fought very hard. It’s hard to say what is the next step. I’ve just got to kind of look and figure out what happened and figure out what I need to do to get to the next level,” said the bewildered Marquardt to MMAJunkie.

Though hurting, literally and figuratively, the 33-year old Marquardt maintained confidence when asked if the loss might have cost him a second shot in the Octagon.

“I’m definitely headed to the UFC. I know I’m going to do great at 170 in the UFC. This is one step back for me, but at the same time I’m excited about what’s next,” offered Marquardt. “I’m very disappointed. I’m heartbroken right now. I wasn’t ready for the leg kicks, and that’s what made the difference in this fight.”

The loss to Saffiedine snapped a two-fight winning streak for Marquardt, dropping his overall record to 32-11-2.