After finally capturing a world title attached to a Zuffa brand this past weekend (July 14, 2012) in the form of the Strikeforce Welterweight championship, Nate Marquardt proved that despite being out of action for almost a year, he is still one of the best fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) today.
"The Great" had his hands full, though, as his Tyron Woodley proved to be a game opponent, going toe-to-toe with the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contender, making it all the way to the championship rounds. In the end, Marquardt proved to be the superior striker as he clipped "T-Wood" with very-well placed elbows and finished off the job with some vicious uppercuts that had Woodley out for the count in the fourth round.
Now, a few days removed from his championship fight, Marquardt reflected on his performance, which was his first fight at 170-pounds, and the former Pancrase Middleweight champion says the welterweight division is truly the best fit for him.
Appearing on today's (July 16, 2012) episode of "The MMA Hour," Marquardt rapped about his win over Woodley and looked ahead at his future, including a possible showdown with friend and training partner, UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
Check it out:
"That's the reason why I dropped down. I felt like when I am lighter, I'm faster, I have better endurance and I didn't lose any power or strength. I feel better, I feel like a better athlete. I feel like it I was going to fight at (1)85, I would cut down in weight, getting my body lean and I'm going to be a better athlete."
"I was very impressed with him. I mean you know, his wrestling is so good that he has been able to kind of get away with just using his wrestling. So, I didn't know what to expect as far as the rest of his game in the stand up game. And you know, he has a very good standup game. He is very resilient, which I was very surprised as how resilient he was. I think he is definitely one of the best in the world, there is no question in my mind. He is a tough dude and he will be back and stronger. He just need s a little more experience in the cage."
After his victory, Marquardt declared that he indeed is the best welterweight in the world. Though there are certain 170-pounders in the UFC who may have something to say about that, specifically division kingpin Georges St. Pierre, whom Marquardt has trained with down at Jackson-Winkeljohns Mixed Martial Arts. When asked if he would ever have a problem facing "Rush," Marquardt said if it came down to it, he would have no issues stepping into the cage with him:
"I have competed everywhere in the world and I know my skills and abilities. Of course, I have to prove that I am the best, but I truly feel that I am the best. You got believe you are the best if you are the fighter. If you don't believe you're the best, then why are you doing it, you know? I got to believe that, and of course I believe I am better than everyone else, so. It's not a shot at Georges, personally. You, know, we have talked about it, but we will have to cross that bridge when we get there. It's, we know it is a possibility so. Yes, if that's, how it has to be, then so be it."
Of course, a potential fight with "GSP" is way down the line ... if at all.
Marquardt still has some challenges in Strikeforce for his first title defense, including Jason High, who scored a 26-second knockout over Nate Moore on the undercard of Saturday night's card, as well as Jordan Mein, who was also successful against Tyler Stinson on Saturday.
Anyone think Marquardt is capable of posing a real threat to "GSP's" reign as welterweight kingpin if a potential match up is ever realized? Or will a Strikeforce contender such as Mein or High end Marquardt's championship run before it ever picks up much steam?
Let's hear it.