Former world champion Nate Marquardt is back to MMA but where should he go and who should he fight?
A lot of fans may not remember Nate Marquardt during his prime but he is a former three-time middleweight champion in Pancrase and the former welterweight champion in Strikeforce. Marquardt was one of the best during his prime, undoubtedly. He has wins over Damian Maia, C.B. Dollaway, Jeremy Horn and defeated Kazuo Misaki and Tyron Woodley to win his two world titles respectively.
That title win over Woodley came after he left the UFC the first time, and upon his return went 3-9 in his 12 fights spread across four years. He looked like a slowed-down version of himself and when Marquardt hung up the gloves he was 38. The losing wasn’t what lead him to retire however, it was his missionary work that he felt compelled to accomplish that lead him to leave fighting behind. Marquardt now believes that God sent him a dream to bring him back to fighting.
“Well it’s kind of a crazy story, man, but I had a dream,” Marquardt told MMA Junkie. “God spoke to me, and he confirmed it later in the week by two people I’ve never met before and one friend, as well, that basically I’d be fighting again.”
So now that he is back in MMA, let’s look at the three fighters Marquardt should consider going up against. For clarity, the odds of the UFC picking up an aging veteran who’s arguably past his prime is unlikely but we’ve included an option, just in case.
Bellator – Michael Page (welterweight)
Marquardt has said that he’d be open to fighting at welterweight and this gives us a great opportunity. One of the big issues that fans say surrounds Michael ‘Venom’ Page is that he’s never beaten anyone legitimate. His biggest test to date was against Douglas Lima and he lost soundly. Marquardt isn’t what he used to be but he’s a big welterweight and could give Page a lot of problems. Either Marquardt wins and gets back some much-needed credibility or Page wins and gets a name to put on his resume.
It’s highly likely that Marquardt ends up in Bellator due to the Scott Coker/Strikeforce connection. So that’s where you can expect his first fight back to be.
UFC – Anderson Silva (middleweight)
Seeing Marquardt in UFC isn’t very likely, Dana White has a history of pushing veterans who aren’t drawing out of the promotion. Especially ones on losing streaks. However, should the UFC bring back Marquardt then a rematch with Silva makes total sense. Marquardt is just as legendary as a middleweight as Silva, even if the casual audience doesn’t think so. The two of them fighting could be a legendary sendoff of sorts, with Silva 1-6-1 in his last eight, it’s likely his retirement is near. Silva will arguably never again be in the title scene unless UFC President Dana White shoe-horns him in there, so it’s best to use whatever fights Silva has left as special attraction bouts that don’t affect the standings any.
Rizin – Wanderlei Silva (middleweight)
Don’t laugh. Ok, you can laugh a little because this is kinda silly and out there; but it’s also not. Wanderlei Silva isn’t retired. Silva has expressed a lot of interest over the years in competing for Rizin, something he’s yet to do. Silva was to Pride FC what Marquardt was to Pancrase. He fought 19 times for Pancrase and was a three-time middleweight champion for them. These are two icons of Japanese MMA, representing companies who have seen better days (or are gone completely). To bring them in as a one-off fight would be more than believable considering they had Gabi Garcia take on Yumiko Hotta at Rizin 4 in 2016. Garcia is a legit light heavyweight, one of the few women in the world that is. Hotta was 48, and a lightweight at the time. Freak show fights like this are common. Silva at middleweight is no bigger than Marquardt, so why not book the fight?
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