Nate Marqaurdt Officially Moves to UFC, Goes 'Back to the Drawing Board'

Jan 12, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Nate Marquardt (black shorts) enters the ring before his fight with Tarec Saffiedine (not shown) in their Strikeforce MMA Welterweight Title bout at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2013

Nate Marquardt, who it was announced on Wednesday will officially move to the UFC, is taking Saturday's loss with good humor, but at the same time, he's expressing frustration over the defeat and vowing to return a better fighter, even if it means a reinvention.

In an interview published earlier this week on MMAjunkie.com, the former Strikeforce welterweight champion and UFC title contender vowed to improve:

I really believe I'll get (to the next level) and I really believe I'm one of the best. I still have a lot to prove. Shoot, I'm not going to quit. I'm not going to give up. This is what I want to do, and I love it. I think it was a great fight, a good fight for the fans. In that respect, we put on a good show. But I've got to go back to the drawing board and see what's next.

On Saturday night, Marquardt (32-11-2, 10-4 UFC) lost to relatively unheralded prospect Tarec Saffiedine, who tenderized Marquardt with leg kicks for 25 minutes to become the final welterweight champion in Strikeforce history. Afterward, Marquardt tweeted photos of his swollen and discolored thigh, with a note joking that he "should've checked those leg kicks!" 

In the MMAjunkie interview, Marquardt expressed confidence in his ability to compete 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. 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. Shoot, what else can I say?

Marquardt, a fan favorite, will probably be plugged into the top echelon of the UFC's welterweight pecking order, even if Saturday's loss probably negated his chances at a title shot or title eliminator, at least for the time being.

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