Nate Marquardt's Road to Redemption Begins with Tyron Woodley

Duane Finley@duanefinleymmaContributor IJuly 13, 2012

Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Nate Marquardt is tired of talking.

He's done the interviews. He has explained the reasons behind his elevated testosterone levels. In the year since his highly publicized release from the UFC, he has watched quietly from the sidelines as the sport he loves carried on.

Marquardt has done his best to remain positive with his back against the wall, and this Saturday he will return to action as he makes his Strikeforce debut in Portland against Tyron Woodley.

Marquardt will have the opportunity to fight for the vacant welterweight title when he attempts the task of defeating Woodley, the former Missouri wrestling standout who is unbeaten in 10 outings.

When they lock up this Saturday night, Marquardt will not only be fighting for his chance to wear championship gold. It will be his opportunity to take a giant step forward after taking so many difficult steps over the past year.

"Woodley is definitely a top level fighter," Marquardt told Bleacher Report. "He's undefeated and has faced some tough dudes. He has fought some tough guys in the past, but nobody with my experience and talent.

"I believe a solid performance against him would secure me a place in the Top 10 at 170 pounds, or maybe higher if that is what people think. If I'm looking at it objectively, that is what I would think. My well-rounded skills are going to be a factor in this fight."

While Woodley makes no secret about wrestling being his greatest strength, over the past two fights he has shown improvement and confidence in his hands. Marquardt has worked hard to improve his wrestling but if Woodley decides to stand, Marquardt believes his striking will be too much for his opponent to handle.

"I hope he makes the mistake of standing with me," Marquardt said. "I don't think he will though. I think he is going to stick to what he knows best. At the same time there are a couple of things he does well with on the feet but I think he's going to realize when we get in there and start moving around that I'm on a different level than him when it comes down to it.

"The opportunity to become a champion is definitely something I'm looking forward to, but that is not my focus for this fight. My focus is to win by getting in there and performing. I want to do my best. I want to have a good fight for the fans and put on a show. Fans are going to see a very exciting fight. They are going to see a better athlete than I was before and this is going to be an upgraded version of Nate Marquardt."