UFC 128 Fight Card: Can We Still Call Nate Marquardt 'The Great'?

Leon HorneAnalyst IMarch 18, 2011

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 29:  UFC fighter Nate Marquardt (L) battles UFC fighter Demian Maia (R) during their Middleweight bout at UFC 102:  Couture vs. Nogueira at the Rose Garden Arena on August 29, 2009 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Nate "The Great" Marquardt hasn't been so great of late in the UFC, despite having one of the better skill sets in his division.

Marquardt is a veteran of the mixed martial arts scene with a professional record of 39—10—2. He has fought the who's who of the middleweight division and for the most part he has always been one of the top guys in the middleweight division.

For a guy who current middleweight champion and living legend Anderson Silva says is the future of the division, Marquardt simply hasn't been living up to that hype.

Of course one can see where Anderson is coming from because Marquardt really has a ton of talent. Besides Vitor Belfort and Anderson, Marquardt is probably the best striker in the division. In addition to his striking Marquardt holds black belts in both Brazilian Jiu—Jitsu and Jujutsu and it is clear that Marquardt is a well rounded fighter.

One only has to watch Marquardt's fights against guys like Demian Maia, Wilson Gouveia, Martin Kampmann and pretty much any of his high caliber victories to see that this guy knows how to throw down.

For whatever reason, in the recent past Marquardt hasn't been looking so good whenever the stakes are raised. He still has tremendous performances in lower profile fights, but once there are things like contendership or title shots on the line he seems to struggle greatly.

Marquardt has already fought Anderson Silva for the middleweight title and he lost brutally in 2007, but that's okay because almost everyone loses brutally to Anderson Silva. Ever since the loss Marquardt has been trying to get back to the title shot, but falls flat when his chance is near.

After losing to Silva, Marquardt went 4-1 with all his victories ending in devastating fashion. Next up for Marquardt was Olympic caliber wrestler and grinder extraordinaire Chael Sonnen in a match to determine the division's number one contender. Many had Marquardt as the favorite in the fight, but Chael's wrestling overwhelmed him.

Marquardt was given leg lock specialist Rousimar Palhares after Sonnen and once again Marquardt bounced back with a dominant technical knockout of the Brazilian.

Impressed with the victory, the UFC gave Marquardt another number one contender fight against Japanese wrestler Yushin Okami. Just like the Sonnen fight, Okami utilized his wrestling to control Marquardt for the majority of the fight and took the decision victory, Marquardt's title shot alluded him once again.

After the Okami fight UFC president Dana White along with many fans questioned Marquardt's ability to perform under pressure.

Marquardt requested a fight with somebody like Wanderlei Silva or Yoshiro Akiyama and Akiyama was the fight the UFC setup for this coming weekend at UFC 128.

Marquardt wanted somebody like Akiyama because he is an aggressive fighter that likes to stand and bang, which plays right into Marquardt's hands.

Akiyama had to withdraw from the fight unfortunately and was replaced by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Dan Miller.

Despite having excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Dan Miller's stand up is rudimentary and he doesn't have the take downs or wrestling of guys like Sonnen or Okami.

Come Saturday fans will probably see Nate "The Great" re-emerge as he will probably come away with another stoppage victory to add to his record.

Marquardt hasn't been so great in the big fights and if he wants to play true to his nickname he is going to have to come through in the big fights if and when the UFC decide to put him back on the title hunt.

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Leon Horne has been contributing to Bleacher Report for two years now. He focuses mainly on mixed martial arts, but he has also written about tennis, football and hockey. Just send him a message if you want to talk sports or discuss any opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter for updates: Follow Leon_Horne on Twitter