By Damon Martin, MMAWeekly
“Return to Greatness?” Nate “The Great” Marquardt Returns To Face Joe Dorkson at UFC 58
By Damon Martin, MMAWeekly

Coming back from a long layoff is tough for any fighter, but after 7 months of waiting, former 7X King of Pancrase, Nate Marquardt will return to do battle in the octagon, this time facing tough as nails Canadian, Joe Doerksen.

When fans last saw Marquardt it was in his victory over former UFC fighter Ivan Salaverry at the first Ultimate Fight Night event in August 2005. Unfortunately, fans and critics alike didn’t see an extremely exciting fight and some were left wondering if Marquardt would be back. As fate may have it though, Marquardt has been seen in most of his other fights as a very well rounded fighter who can finish either on the feet, or on the ground as he is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The long time between fights may concern some, but Marquardt feels just as ready for this fight as any other that he’s had in the past.

“Generally I fight 3 to 5 times per year, and last year I got 2 in and this one is in March, so it hasn’t been too long. But I’ve been training the whole time, so I haven’t laid off too much,” said Marquardt.

While Marquardt himself has a very popular school and training center in Colorado, the middleweight contender is now training full time for his fights at Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico. Home to fighters like Diego Sanchez, Joey Villasenor and Keith Jardine, it’s Jackson who is bringing the best out of Marquardt for his fights.

“It’s been one of the missing links in my training. The team down here has made me twice as strong, and twice as good physically and mentally, and with a great coach like Greg (Jackson) I’m just blessed to be here,” Marquardt commented about his team and coach.

Coming into this fight, Marquardt is preparing for another very experienced fighter in Joe Doerksen, who will be fighting in the UFC for the 4th time but is coming off a tough loss to Jason McDonald in October. While Salaverry was primarily a counter fighter, Doerksen is fairly aggressive and that could play into Marquardt’s hand in the fight.

“He’s a great opponent. He has a lot of fights, I think our styles will mix very well. It takes a really good opponent to show what your true skills are, and I think he’s going to bring that out in me and I think he’s a tough fight,” said Marquardt of his opposition. “But I think Doerkson tends to be a little big more aggressive. And I think it’s going to match up well with my style.”

Another big fight on the UFC 58 card is the middleweight title bout between champion Rich Franklin and top contender, David “The Crow” Loiseau. While Marquardt certainly can’t look past Doerksen, it is very likely that with a win he will be right in line for the next title shot. But how does Marquardt view this match-up?

“I don’t really have a prediction, but I think that it will finish before the end of the third round. I either see Loiseau catching Franklin with something early on, or as the fight goes on, Franklin will wear him out and have good basics and knock Loiseau out,” said Marquardt.

As for his title shot?

“I don’t want to look past this fight, but I think that’s a definite possibility. That’s what I’m here for, I’m here to be the champion and that’s my goal,” Marquardt stated.

Before his new stint in the UFC, Marquardt was a very familiar face in Japan, being crowned King of Pancrase, but now he is focusing on fighting at home in the U.S. and is committed to the UFC.

“I’m under contract with the UFC and that’s who I’m fighting for now,” said Marquardt. “I’m really happy, I’m excited to be in the UFC, with everything the UFC is doing right now, so I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Marquardt will take his next step towards climbing to the top of the ladder in the middleweight division when he takes on Joe Doerksen at UFC 58.