Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt made his return to the Octagon at UFC 158 after nearly two years, battling Jake Ellenberger in a fight of hard-hitting, high-level 170-pounders.
The fight started off slow, but Marquardt eventually fell short in his quest to get back in the win column in the UFC, as he was knocked out midway through Round 2. He attempted to dispute the decision to stop the fight, but the replay showed that he was very clearly out and the right decision was made to stop the contest.
With losses in each of his past two bouts, Marquardt is now in a very tough situation.
As the divisions continue to grow within the UFC, spots on the roster within those divisions are becoming much more difficult to come by. For a fighter like Marquardt who has had his troubles with the UFC front office in the past, three straight losses could potentially be a death sentence for his spot on the roster.
Marquardt will need to get back in the win column, so playing things safe against a lower-level opponent could be an option. Then again, at 33 years old, it's not as if he has all the time in the world to slowly climb his way back up the ranks. He may, then, consider taking a higher-profile fight against a tougher opponent, but one who would move him back up the ladder more quickly.
Here are five options for Nate Marquardt's next fight.