Photo of Nate Marquardt by Esther Lin for ShoSports via Flickr.com
"I really felt good, basically, in the first round. He was a very tough opponent, he's a very tough guy. That's why we were fighting for the belt. But, I thought I just came prepared. I really feel like it's my time. I'm one of the best in the world. Actually, I feel like I am the best in the world."
-- Look out, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre because newly-minted Strikeforce 170-pound kingpin, Nate Marquardt, is coming in hot and heavy. Or, more like leaner and meaner after "The Great" made his successful divisional debut last night (July 14, 2012) against Tyron Woodley for the Strikeforce belt that Nick Diaz vacated last year. Marquardt -- who had not competed in nearly 18 months because of a Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) issue, which was then followed by a stint with BAMMA that never amounted to anything -- appeared fresh and strong in his new weight class, seemingly not bothered by the 15-pound cut or long layoff. There were a few moments in which he was in trouble, but he weathered the storms and continued to stalk "T-Wood" all night on Showtime. He finally pinned Woodley along the cage in the fourth round, connecting with a vicious combination of elbows and uppercuts that dropped the decorated amateur wrestler and busted up his lip. The referee stepped in to stop the fight, which was a first-ever for Marquardt at 170 pounds. And, apparently, one of many since he feels that there is no one better than him right now in the division. He's got a point when it comes to Strikeforce, but how would he perform against the talented sharks inside the Octagon?