UFC 158's Nate Marquardt: 'I'm a Great Fighter, I Just Want to Prove It'

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UFC 158's Nate Marquardt: 'I'm a Great Fighter, I Just Want to Prove It'
USA TODAY Sports

Nate Marquardt will return to the UFC on Saturday when he faces Jake Ellenberger in Montreal, Canada on the pay-per-view portion of the UFC 158 fight card.

Marquardt’s first go-round with the UFC ended abruptly after he was released from the organization on the eve of a headlining bout back in June 2011.  Since that release, Marquardt has gone 1-1—the win being his brutal knockout of Tyron Woodley to capture the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title, the loss being a decision defeat where he turned that title over to Tarec Saffiedine.

Marquardt was not originally booked to compete at UFC 158, but when Rory MacDonald pulled out of his co-main event bout against Carlos Condit due to injury, some shuffling of the card commenced. After Johny Hendricks was moved to the co-main event, there was an opening against Jake Ellenberger. The only problem: There remained only three weeks until fight night.

That wasn’t a problem for Marquardt, who viewed the short notice as a perfect opportunity: “Everything seemed like it was perfect. Ellenberger being the opponent, doing Zuffa a solid, there’s a lot of guys that wouldn’t take a fight like Ellenberger on short notice and also I felt like it was the perfect opportunity and I had to act when I could.”

That short notice caused Marquardt to scramble. “Basically I had a three-week camp and had to do everything in a rush. I had to get the right training partners out. I had to come up with a game plan with the coaches and get them all on the same page. The logistics of the camp made the first week challenging, but I feel 100 percent ready.”

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Another benefit of taking the fight on short notice is that it allows Marquardt to put the January 12 loss to Saffiedine in his rear-view mirror. “MMA is tough; you can lose a fight and not fight for six months and that whole time you feel like a loser, and it’s tough. Jumping right back in against a top opponent, I feel like I get a chance to redeem myself."

Marquardt, obviously still stinging from that loss, continued: “That fight made me think, no offence to him, just looking at that fight, he’s not at my level. I didn’t go into that fight with my normal mindset.  This sport’s tough, you have an off night and that can last you half a year.”

A quick glance would leave one to think that maybe the deck is stacked against Marquardt for Saturday night. He’ll enter the Octagon following a loss to a fighter that many believe he should have defeated, and he’s coming in on short notice to face a top-10 welterweight.

Despite that, Marquardt does not lack in confidence: “I’m a great fighter, I just want to go out and prove it.”

*All quotes obtained firsthand.

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