What is Next for Nate Marquardt at Middleweight?
At UFC Fight Night 43, Nate “The Great” Marquardt managed to salvage what was left of his UFC career with a first-round submission win over James Te Huna. Now after a failed run as a welterweight, Marquardt is back where he made his mark and became a contender in the UFC. It will be interesting to see where he goes.
Marquardt performed admirably as the underdog at UFC Fight Night 43. He entered enemy territory in Auckland, New Zealand. Te Huna was the hometown boy and betting favorite going into the fight. While both fighters were coming off back-to-back losses, it was Marquardt who had lost three in a row at a lower weight class. With Te Huna moving down to a lower weight class, those factors are probably the reasons the betting odds favored him.
Before this fight, many people forgot just how good of a middleweight Marquardt was before he left the UFC. When he initially tried to move down in weight, he was 10-4 in the UFC as a middleweight fighter. He was still dominant as a middleweight. Marquardt’s last two losses at middleweight were against future title contenders in Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami. He had initial success at welterweight as well, knocking out Tyron Woodley to win Strikeforce‘s vacant welterweight title. He lost that title in his next fight to Tarec Saffiedine.
As for what’s next for Marquardt in rebuilding his career as a middleweight, he should probably face someone on the lower end of the official top 15 middleweight rankings. Tim Boetsch or Brad Tavares would be good options for his next bout. Te Huna is still ranked No. 14 in UFC’s light heavyweight division, so Marquardt should be angling for an opponent who will get him closer to the top 10. Fighters such as Mark Munoz, Tavares or Boetsch fit that bill.
The fight at UFC Fight Night 43 appeared to cement that middleweight is really Marquardt’s natural weight class, and welterweight was a bad fit. At this point in his career that spans almost 50 fights, I am not sure that Marquardt can again become an elite competitor. However, he probably has a better chance of winning at middleweight without trying to kill himself with a huge weight cut to 170 pounds.