Nate Marquardt feels like he's the best in the world, and it would be hard to argue with him after his impressive victory over Tyron Woodley on Saturday night.
At "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy," Marquardt returned after over a year layoff and knocked out Woodley at 1:39 of the fourth round to capture the welterweight title.
The victory represented a fresh start for Marquardt, who was released from the UFC in June 2011.
"It's a dream come true," Marquardt said in his post-fight interview with Mauro Ranallo. "But when I go home to my family, I'm a champ every day."
Marquardt's title victory didn't come without a couple of scares. Early in the first round, Woodley landed a huge right hand that had the former UFC middleweight contender scrambling for his senses.
The opening salvo of strikes kept Marquardt honest throughout the rest of the fight. Despite controlling the center of the Octagon, Marquardt seemed hesitant to let go of his punches, a reoccurring issue that has cost him in past bouts.
In the third round, the tide of the fight shifted back in Woodley's favor when he stopped backpedaling and became the aggressor. He hurt Marquardt with another hard right hand and nearly finished the fight with vicious ground-and-pound.
"I tell you what, T-Wood is one tough dude," said Marquardt. "He was a lot more game when I started catching him than I thought. He's one tough dude."
After three rounds of back and forth action, the fourth round was all Marquardt, as he opened up with a barrage of elbows and uppercuts that put Woodley away in devastating fashion.
In an interview with MMAjunkie, Marquardt talked about weathering the storm and coming back for a highlight reel knockout.
"I trained hard for it, and it's a great accomplishment," Marquardt said. "Tyron's a very tough guy, a very skilled world-class fighter, and I trained my butt off. I felt like he was trying to finish me off, and he was using a lot of energy. That's kind of where the experience came into play. I was just able to weather the storm, and as soon as he started to slow down, I decided to get out."
Marquardt was a top-10 middleweight contender before making his welterweight debut. Despite this being his first victory at 170 pounds, his name is already being put in the conversation of upper-echelon UFC welterweight contenders.
As always, people will talk and formulate their own opinions, but in Marquardt's mind, he isn't merely a contender. He believes he is the best in the world.
"I really feel it's my time," Marquardt told MMAJunkie. "I'm one of the best in the world, and actually, I feel like I'm the best in the world, the best welterweight."