Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE
Friends can fight friends, according to Nate Marqaurdt, who says his friendship with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre won't stop him from reaching his title aspirations.
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and even Daniel Cormier, who won the promotion's heavyweight grand prix tournament, could likely get an instant title shot once they make the jump to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) later this year.
So why wouldn't Nate Marquardt get one, too?
The former UFC middleweight number one contender made a successful debut at 170 pounds back on July 14, 2012 at Strikeforce: "Rockhold vs. Kennedy," knocking out Tyron Woodley in the fourth round and capturing the title in the process.
As he prepares to defend his belt for the first (and last) time against Tarec Saffiedine in Oklahoma City, "The Great" can't allude questions of a potential title shot once he heads back to the Octagon should he best "Sponge" at this weekend's (Jan 12, 2013) Showtime event.
And don't think for a minute that the very real possibility of fighting training partner and current UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre, will deter Marqaurdt from his UFC title aspirations.
Though he prefers not to square off against his French-Canadian friend, Nate declares he's not in a position to pass on any proposed fights and says he wants a shot at the winner of the showdown between GSP and Nick Diaz, which goes down at UFC 158 on March 16 in Montreal.
His words to MMA Fighting:
"Of course, yeah (laughs). Honestly man, anyone of those welterweights on that card, that card is stacked and any one of the three that win, that's who I want to fight. Obviously, I'd rather not fight Georges. He's my friend and training partner for a long time now. But, like I said before, I'm not in the position to be turning down fights, so. I'd rather not fight him, but, I'm not going to turn down any fights."
Then again, Johny Hendricks, who was stiffed in his title shot against "Rush" earlier this year, might have a thing or three to say about that should he defeat Jake Ellenberger in UFC 158's welterweight-heavy event.
Do you think Nate should get next dibs at vying for the UFC's welterweight title? Or should he win a fight or two inside the Octagon to earn a championship bout?