Marquardt-Miller-UFC128 - MMAWeeklyEight weeks ago, UFC welterweight Nate Marquardt suffered a loss to Tarec Saffiedine and lost his Strikeforce strap in the process as well. The defeat was also notable for the amount of damage Marquardt took to his leg courtesy of Saffiedine’s striking. Though Marquardt could have taken some time off to heal up and make his UFC return with a full camp behind him, the 33-year old stepped up to fill an opening at UFC 158 where he’ll face Jake Ellenberger in a main card match-up.

When initially approached about the tilt, Marquardt wasn’t 100% sure he should accept the offer but came around after realizing the type of opportunity he was being handed.

“I guess the only hesitation was whether it was a smart move to take a fight against a top level guy on short notice. That’s the thing I had to look at most, and I feel like I made the right decision, especially now that I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be,” explained Marquardt in an interview with the UFC’s website.

With a win over Ellenberger, “Nate the Great” would establish himself as a force in the organization’s always-deep welterweight pool and speed up his journey to a potential title-shot. Of course, beating the 28-6 Ellenberger is easier said than done as opponents like Diego Sanchez, Mike Pyle, and Jake Shields have learned in the past.

“He’s very tough, he’s strong, he’s powerful, he hits hard, he’s well-rounded, and there’s no easy game plan for him, like I could just take him down or I could just stand on the feet with him,” admitted Marquardt of the threat posed by Ellenberger. “I have to fight him every inch of the fight, and I have to look for my little spots to beat him.”

Marquardt is an equally difficult draw for Ellenberger given his 24 finishes in 32 wins, creating what should be an excellent clash come Saturday night. Among the opponents Marquardt has beaten in his career are the likes of Demian Maia, Martin Kampmann, and Rousimar Palhares.