What’s next for Nate Marquardt? To be blunt...it's not so great.
After a pretty solid win where you look fairly decent, it can’t be easy to face the reality that your chances of getting another shot at the strap is not likely much closer.
Marquardt seemed really pleased with his win, and who can blame him. He looked good dominating another legit opponent on the ground, and hey, a win’s a win.
Anyone that wins in the Octagon has to breathe a sigh of relief, with the competition getting so strong top to bottom throughout the organization, not to mention the added names which are in the conversation now due to the Strikeforce addition. Any fighter that loses even one bout is now susceptible to tormenting thoughts about job security.
While being cut is not necessarily imminent after one loss, it begins a long slow walk to the next fight, which is for all intents and purposes a virtual “must win” for most guys.
There are some exceptions made (as it should be) for legends and established names. Particularly exciting, “leave it in the cage types” have a few extra lives, but for grinders with styles not much praised by Dana White or the increasingly like-minded live audiences, it really is becoming “do or die” on most nights. Just ask Mirko Cro-Cop.
Harder to figure is the position of a guy like Marquardt.
Did Nate Marquardt do enough at UFC 128 to move the needle forward on another run at the belt?
Marquardt has been quite heavily under the Zuffa gun for some time. And while Marquardt has done nothing but lose when faced with the champion and No. 1 contenders (when the No. 1 is not himself), he has done nothing but win against virtually everybody else just below that top rung.
Marquardt really is a kind of poster boy for a new gray area in UFC, brought on by increasing depth. Marquardt's a guy who wins enough to easily have maintained a spot in last decade's UFC, but one who too often does it in a slow grind on the mat that increasingly is out of favor with the new era fans.
What’s worse, Marquardt’s performances are frequently at odds with the designs of UFC management.
There was no immediate indication that White was particularly displeased with Marquardt’s win, but neither was there any sizzle or “wow” factor in the decision to guarantee that Marquardt is not up against the wall again in the next one.
White’s reactions to losses against Silva and Sonnen were so pronounced that Marquardt seemingly cannot afford another loss going forward, regardless of coming out on top tonight.
It goes without saying that were it not for an apparent lack of more than three serious threats to Anderson Silva the predicament would be much worse for Marquardt, not to mention other serial yawners.
My own quick poll of fight fans and fighters, as well as a perusing of various forums, has posited a rather unanimous conclusion about Marquardt: He did not do enough, despite a convincing win, to “move the needle” much.
Marquardt is still not in an overly secure position and really is no more closer to another title run in the UFC than Josh Barnett is. The consensus among my own unofficial poll respondents is very clear: Marquardt remains a gate-keeper at best in the middleweight picture, until he starts speedily destroying anyone not listed as No. 1-5 overall at 185 lbs.
He also needs to risk it all against that upper echelon's top-five if, and when, the chance ever comes again. Were Marquardt to have his Michael Bisping wish granted, not only would it be an obvious must-win, but nothing short of the Englishman's utter destruction would impress the fans—let alone the UFC.
- Joe Wise / Guerrilla Fight