Strikeforce Welterweight Champ Tarec Saffiedine Ready for New Goals in UFC

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIJanuary 14, 2013

Jan 12, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Tarec Saffiedine (red and black shorts) celebrates after his match with Nate Marquardt (not shown) in their Strikeforce MMA Welterweight Title bout at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Tarec Saffiedine sent Strikeforce out on a high note of sorts by overcoming the odds to take out longtime veteran Nate Marquardt.

After taking out Marquardt with a brutal display of leg kicks, Saffiedine is prepared to set new goals for himself if/when the UFC comes calling. (via Matt Erikson of

I would love to fight for the (UFC) belt. But this belt was my goal first. Now I've reached my goal and I need to set new goals. I didn't think of what's next after this belt.

I need to take a step back and think about what's next for my career. I haven't been approached by the UFC. Whatever's coming tomorrow, I'll be ready.

Roughly a 4-1 favorite on most betting lines, Marquardt had no answer for the stiff leg kicks that hobbled him all night. Coming into a big-name fight as an underdog will be a role Saffiedine will likely find himself in if he gets some big name fights in the UFC, but the Team Quest fighter knows how to perform under those conditions.

It was definitely a motivation. I had other motivation. But I like to beat the odds. I trained really hard. I didn't really pay attention to the odds because it's MMA and anything can happen. Winning the belt was one of the biggest motivations for me.

Despite holding the Strikeforce title and being the promotion's last champion at 170 pounds, Saffiedine will still have to claw his way into a crowded UFC welterweight title picture. The Marquardt win may have pushed Saffiedine out of the "prospect" crowd and into the realm of contenders, but it remains to be seen if UFC President Dana White feels the same.