Gilbert Melendez will likely face Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight title in his first trip to the Octagon, but the future isn’t as certain for middleweight champion Luke Rockhold or welterweight titleholder Nate Marquardt.
First things first, Marquardt is the one Strikeforce champion with a fight left on the final show coming up this weekend when he steps in against Tarec Saffiedine, but even with a win he’s not concerning himself with what’s next, who he fights, or what ranking he comes in with when he debuts at 170 pounds in the UFC.
“It’s something I don’t think about at all,” Marquardt told MMAWeekly Radio. “You can’t think about that stuff and honestly it doesn’t matter. Rankings and that kind of stuff, it doesn’t matter. A fight’s a fight, it’s what’s in front of you and you train for that fight. That’s all you can worry about.”
If Marquardt is successful against Saffiedine he will likely come in on day one as a top welterweight contender, and just about everyone will hope to see him against one of the best in the division for his first fight.
Whether it’s Carlos Condit, Rory MacDonald, Johny Hendricks, Jake Ellenberger or any of the other top 170-pound fighters in the UFC, Marquardt just sees them all as names. Until they are on the other end of a bout agreement, he’s not losing any sleep about who he faces.
Marquardt’s philosophy is line them up and he’ll knock them down one by one and whether it’s UFC or Strikeforce, he’s going to show up and compete.
“For me, I want to fight. To me, a fight is a fight, it doesn’t matter where or what banner it’s under, the fact that I’m able to pay my bills from the money I make in the fight it really doesn’t matter to me where the fight is in that regard,” said Marquardt.
Of course, he can’t ignore the fact that fans want to see him in certain fights once he comes back to the UFC in 2013, but as much as he appreciates the compliment, it’s all just words.
Words aren’t actions and Marquardt is all about action.
“Hearing that kind of stuff let’s me know that I’m on the right path and my career’s going well. I don’t put any value on that stuff, it doesn’t mean anything for someone to say you’re ranked number whatever in the world. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just what people think,” Marquardt stated.
“I still have to be the one that shows up to perform and fight my heart out and if I don’t do that, then it doesn’t mean anything.”