Photo of Nate Marquardt by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
It's been said that forgiveness is the first step on the road to redemption.
It's unclear whether mixed martial arts (MMA) fans have forgiven -- or will ever totally forgive -- former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Nate Marquardt, after issues with his testosterone that caused him to be pulled from his fight against Rick Story at UFC on Versus 4 on June 26, 2011, and to be later cut from the UFC by promotion president Dana White.
Not only was Marquardt fired, but "Uncle Dana" issued one of his famous concrete statements when he said that Marquardt would never fight for the UFC again.
Fast forward to one year later, and Marquardt is now back with Zuffa, and will be fighting for the Strikeforce welterweight championship against Tyron Woodley at Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy," in Portland, Oregon, on Sat., July 14, 2012.
"The Great" sat down with AXS TV (formerly known as HDNet) for "Inside MMA" to discuss the journey he traveled to get back to where he is, as well as his feelings and predictions for his upcoming fight versus "T-Wood." Check out what he had to say, after the jump:
The first thing Marquardt was asked about was his weight, as well as how comfortable he feels with remaining at 170 pounds. Marquardt attributes his current confidence in being a welterweight to his new dietitian and his current eating plan:
"I could use a cheeseburger, right now, but other than that, I feel really good at this weight. I got a dietitian, over a year ago, and I've just been on that diet, and it's worked out great. I feel a whole lot better when I'm on the diet, and it's definitely helped me cut down. It's nothing special, there's no gimmick. It's just a registered diet from a dietitian. It's a lot of good fats, like avocado and fish oil and low fat meats and a lot of vegetables."
It was a very tough year for Marquardt. He was tested and tried, but during it all, he says he never lost faith that he'd eventually make it through. He was asked how he would have felt if someone had told him, a year ago, that he'd now be back with Zuffa and fighting for a title:
"That would've been great news, back then. But, you know, I've never given up faith. I really feel like I've been tested by the Lord, and I've never given up faith. I just believe that he's gonna take care of me, no matter what."
In reference to his upcoming opponent, Marquardt isn't taking him lightly. He knows what he can do, but he also believes that Woodley should be more worried about him than vice versa:
"He's a tough guy. He's a really good wrestler, and that's mainly it. He's tough. He's a wrestler. He's undefeated. He's athletic. But he's not gonna be able to deal with me."
When asked how he'd like the fight to go down, Marquardt wasn't pulling any punches. His goal to put to Woodley to sleep, and according to him, he's got it coming:
"I wanna knock him out, for more than one reason. I think it's exciting for the fans, it's a great gameplan, going in, and honestly, the guy, he's been very disrespectful to me, in some interviews and stuff, and I wanna take it to him. This fight has just rejuvenated me. I'm super excited about it. I couldn't be happier right now."
Marquardt wasn't done talking about his quest for vengeance. He went on to more fully explain just how Woodley has disrespected him, as well as how he plans on accomplishing his goal of knocking him out:
"That's the thing I'm gonna do. I'm gonna take his gas tank, that's number one. And then I'm gonna knock him out. Like I said, the guy was disrespectful to me. He made fun of me, said I stutter and stuff like that, and, you know, I'm gonna make him stutter."
Based on the fight film, Marquardt believes that Woodley will certainly come in, use his wrestling, and may just try and hold him down for five rounds. He doesn't believe that will be a successful gameplan:
"I've watched all the fights I could on him, and he's very good at getting the guys down. Some of them, he's able to submit them. He's not skilled enough to submit me. But, a lot of the other guys, he's able to just hold them down, and I'm not gonna let him do that to me for five rounds. That's not gonna happen. If that's his gameplan, he's crazy. He's not gonna be able to do that to me for five rounds."
For more information on Saturday night's Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" fight card, including the entire archive of posts leading up to the affair, click here.