by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com (Photo courtesy of Tessa Marquardt)
Nathan Marquardt has many accomplishments to his credit. He
has a 25-6-2 professional record. He won three fights in one night to win the
fourth Bas Rutten Invitational MMA Tournament in Denver. He was the first ever
middleweight King of Pancrase. He is the only seven-time King of Pancrase in
the history of the promotion. He is 4-0 in the UFC.
About the only thing that the Lander, Wyoming native hasn’t
done is fulfill a dream he has had since he was a teenager. As great as Nate
is, he has yet to become a UFC champion.
Saturday night in the main event at the Arco Arena in
Sacramento, Calif., Marquardt gets his chance to fulfill that dream, to notch
that one accomplishment which has eluded the 28 year old.
At UFC 73, Marquardt challenges Anderson Silva for the
middleweight belt of the most prestigious mixed martial arts organization in
the world. It’s no small task, but Marquardt feels he is up to the challenge.
Silva is primarily known for his tremendous striking
ability. Asked if he feels his striking matches up well with Silva’s, Marquardt
was confident in his reply. “Definitely. I feel like I’m going to be able to
dominate in every position.”
His strategy? Of course, he’s not going to give away the
blueprint, but Marquardt kept up his confidence, believing that his training
and his team has prepared him for whatever Silva brings to the table. “We have
a strategy of where to keep the fight, at the same time, it’s not going to
matter where the fight goes.”
And what about the losses that the Jackson’s fight team has
suffered recently? “I still feel I have the best team in the world. That doesn’t
change. Every great fighter has his losses and goes through hard times, the
same thing with any great team,” responded Marquardt.
His confidence shouldn’t be mistaken for arrogance though.
Marquardt is quick to point out that, although he feels he will walk out of the
Octagon at UFC 73 as the middleweight champ, it is no easy mountain to climb in
front of him. “[Anderson’s] an excellent fighter. You’ve seen it. He knocked
out Rich Franklin, who everybody thought was the best striker in the division
and Silva just killed him. He’s a great fighter, a great finisher, very strong.
He’s dangerous, I have to keep my eyes open for that.”
Marquardt, despite his accomplishments, has long languished
in the backs of the American fans’ consciousness, largely due to the fact that
he rose to prominence while fighting in Japan for a promotion that has little
to no presence in the U.S. He is considered by most to be the underdog in this
fight, a position that he relishes and hopes to exploit on Saturday night in
“In a way, I kind of like it. I’m going to be the
unexpected, the X-factor.”
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