UFC 158: What's Next for Nate Marquardt?

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2013

UFC 158: What's Next for Nate Marquardt?

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    Nate Marquardt did not look like himself Saturday night at UFC 158 opposite the heavy-handed Jake Ellenberger.

    Sure, Marquardt stepped in for Johny Hendricks who moved up to fight Carlos Condit, but fans expected much more from "The Great" in his Octagon return.  He didn't deliver.

    Now, as a 33-year-old veteran riding a two-fight losing streak, Marquardt will be forced to either reinvent his approach to fighting or look for greener grasses

    Here are five things the former Strikeforce welterweight champion can do next on the heels of a devastating defeat.

Leave the UFC

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    It's not the best option, but when you consider the UFC's recent willingness to press the red button on declining fighters, especially guys who haven't produced in the UFC in quite some time, Nate Marquardt could be on the first train out.

    Now that may not be a bad thing.  At his age and at his weight class, Marquardt isn't going to win a UFC title any time soon.  He's better off in a different organization fighting in shallower divisions with room for advancement.

    He's just not the same guy at 170 pounds now that he was at 185 pounds during his first promotional stint.

    So whether the UFC decides to cut Marquardt, or Marquardt decides to part ways with a deepening promotion, he could be somewhere else by the end of the year.

Move Back to Middleweight

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    Moving back up to the middleweight division may be Nate Marquardt's best move at this point.

    He just didn't seem to have enough gusto in his fight against Jake Ellenberger, looking somewhat flat and slow in the small amount of time the fight lasted.

    For Marquardt, one of the most prolific takedown scorers in UFC middleweight history, bulking up, redefining his game and retooling his skill set may be a fantastic move at this important turning point in his career.

    A knockout loss always allows a fighter to rethink their approach, so don't be surprised if Marquardt moves back up to the place he called home for six years.

Josh Koscheck

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    Why not Josh Koscheck?

    Both Koscheck and Nate Marquardt are seemingly two declining veterans coming off heartbreaking defeats by TKO.

    Both guys are looking to stay within the division's top 10, but won't be able to do that if they don't secure a victory over a well-known name.  A win for either Marquardt or Kosheck against the other would give one of them the notch on their belt that they needed.

    Style wise, it's a pretty good matchup.  Both like to stand, but can take the fight to the ground when they want to.

Tyron Woodley

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    After Tyron Woodley knocked out Jay Hieron in his promotional debut back at UFC 156, many fans thought he deserved to fight a top-10 opponent in the division.

    Well, who better than Nate Marquardt to welcome him to the upper echelon of contenders in the weight class?

    Woodley's only loss to date came at the hands of Marquardt back in July in Strikeforce for the welterweight title.  He was knocked out in the fourth round and experienced his first career defeat.

    As an elite athlete, Woodley is the type of guy who would love the opportunity to avenge a loss.  If he and Marquardt were to meet again, the winner would secure his spot in the division's top 10.

    It's a fight that any UFC fan would love to see.

Martin Kampmann

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    Similar to Tyron Woodley, Martin Kampmann was once on the wrong end of Nate Marquardt's fists.

    When the two met at UFC 88, it took Marquardt just over 80 seconds to finish Kampmann and put himself back in the win column.

    Considering Kampmann is a much better fighter now than he was in 2008, a rematch with Marquardt would be truly something to see.

    However, it's a fight that the UFC would have to heavily promote because Marquardt is quickly falling in the rankings, but each guy needs a win in 2013 to relaunch their respective welterweight title runs.


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