UFC 128: Nate Marquardt is ignoring all critics who claim he's not that 'Great'

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Sounds like Nate has a little message for all the doubting Thomases who "don't fight" yet continue to dish out their negative criticism:

You might be putting Marquardt before the horse.

That's because the longtime mixed martial arts veteran and top UFC middleweight "is going to remind everyone that he's at the top" and still "right there" in the 185-pound title hunt.

He just has to prove it (again).

Originally booked to face off against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 128 this Saturday night (March 19), Marquardt will instead go to war with venerable middleweight Dan Miller on the televised portion of the "Shogun vs. Jones" pay-per-view now that "Sexyama" has returned to Japan to help him fallen brethren.

And as he tells Heavy.com, he's not letting the critics keep him from making it back to the top of the division:

"Honestly, it really didn’t have any effect on me because I don’t really care. I don’t listen to critics. The only critic I need to listen to is myself and I’m my biggest critic. I know what I did wrong in [the Okami] fight and I figured it out. I don’t need to listen to negative criticism from people who don’t fight. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would I listen to that when I have people who care about me who want me to succeed, who want me to be the champion. Those are the people I’m going to listen to ... I’ve been a top ten fighter for a long time. I just think a fight like this is going to remind everyone that I’m at the top and I’m right there. I need to put it together in those title fights and title eliminator fights, but I’m right there. One thing I’ve figured out about myself is that I put too much pressure on myself, because I do want to be the champion, I do want to win every single fight so badly. That kind of stuff adds more pressure, so I kind of decided to not care about that and just take it one fight at a time. I feel that I’ll be there one day and I just have to have faith."

Marquardt (30-10-2), long considered one of the top 185-pound fighters in the world, has been hot-and-cold since his technical knockout loss to division champion Anderson Silva way back in 2007.

After rebounding with a 4-1 record over his next five bouts, he dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to Chael Sonnen in a number one contender fight at UFC 109 early last year.

A (somewhat) controversial technical knockout victory over submission specialist Rousimar Palhares followed, leading to yet another title eliminator fight. And -- just like before -- Nate was not so "Great" and put in an uninspired performance against Yushin Okami at UFC 122.

So uninspired, that it drew the ire of company President Dana White, who criticized the middleweight's game plan as well as his famous camp.

A win over Dan Miller will likely go a long way in putting him back in the boss's good graces. But will it be enough to put him closer to the title?

Time will tell.

For more on the upcoming UFC 128: "Shogun vs. Jones" pay-per-view extravaganza click here.

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