For the past three years, Tarec Saffiedine has been waiting to earn his shot at the Strikeforce welterweight title, and last Saturday not only did he get the chance but he seized the moment with a dominant five round decision victory over Nate Marquardt.
In the cage after being handed the belt, Saffiedine finally let out all of the emotion he stored up over the last few years showing that hard work really can pay off.
Now just days removed from the victory, the Belgium born fighter is still in a daze from the experience and hasn’t quite come down from the high of victory yet.
“It’s still pretty amazing. I haven’t slept yet, it’s been two days. I still have a lot of emotion going through my mind, still kind of hard to realize where I’m at today with the belt, with Strikeforce being gone and everything. I believe in a couple of days I will wake up from that dream and realize that everything has really happened,” Saffiedine told MMAWeekly Radio after the win.
Going into the fight, Saffiedine was a decided underdog to Nate Marquardt, and all fight week long all anybody could talk about was his opponent moving back to the UFC. Who would Marquardt face in the UFC welterweight division? Would he fight his friend Georges St-Pierre?
Every question except how he planned on getting past Tarec Saffiedine, and the Team Quest fighter was paying close attention.
“Maybe some people were underrating me and the odds were against me, and all the talk about Nate going to the UFC, but that motivated me. I wanted to prove everybody was wrong, and I was well prepared,” said Saffiedine.
Now with the biggest win of his career behind him, Saffiedine can start to look forward to what appears to be a very bright future.
As of Monday, Saffiedine still hadn’t received a call or official offer from the UFC, but he’s hoping to get that news in the coming days.
“I haven’t had any paperwork or any call or an email from my manager, so I cannot say 100-percent (I’ll be in the UFC),” Saffiedine revealed.
Of course his hope is to end up in the UFC and Saffiedine is targeting any potential top ten opponent when he finally gets his chance to compete there. Just like his dream three years ago of becoming champion, Saffiedine has a new vision in mind and a goal of becoming one of the best welterweights in the UFC.
“There’s so many tough and good guys in the UFC, and I would love to fight with any of those guys,” said Saffiedine. “As far as somebody in particular I don’t even know what’s going to be next, but it’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to in my career and facing some of the top ten guys.”
(photo by Ester Lin – Showtime/Strikeforce)