Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 158 blew the roof off the Bell Centre last Saturday night (March 16, 2013) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Many combatants were left licking their wounds after a wild night of fights including Carlos Condit, who dropped his second straight in a "Fight of the Night" performance that proved to be an instant classic against Johny Hendricks and Nick Diaz, who failed to walk the walk after talking the talk, over and over...and over.
In what was his first fight back with UFC since being released two years ago, "The Great" wasn't exactly welcomed back with open arms, more like closed fists courtesy of Jake Ellenberger, who viciously knocked out Marquardt in the opening frame, joining middleweight champion Anderson Silva as the only other man to ever do so.
Aside from shaking the cobwebs and having a huge headache, Nate is dealing with the fact that he lost his second straight bout for the first time in his career, previously losing his 170-pound Strikeforce title to Tarec Saffiedine two months ago.
After his loss to "Sponge," Marquardt admitted he overlooked his foe, so, did he do the same with Ellenberger? Not likely. In fact, Nate looked motivated and eager to put his loss to Tarec in the rear-view mirror, rocking "The Juggernaut" early in the round, but failing to deliver the finishing strikes.
So what went wrong?
It's hard to say, really. Nate looked fresh and light on his feet. He didn't get dominated like he did in his previous three losses to Tarec, Yushin Okami and Chael Sonnen. But, as the old saying goes, he simply got caught.
It wasn't a "lucky punch" from Jake by any means. Ellenberger looked even lighter on his feet right before landing the coup de grace, delivering a perfect 1-2 combo that ended the former champion's night.
Getting caught early or dominated for 25 minutes, the fact remains, Nate has dropped two straight under the Zuffa umbrella, leaving his future with the company looking rather gloomy.
Especially considering his sordid past.
Will he get cut? Probably not. The promotion is trimming its fat in a big way, but Marqaurdt is still a big name and has the chops to compete with the best. I doubt Dana White and Joe Silva will hand him his walking papers, but, if he drops his next fight, his job title as a UFC fighter won't be guaranteed, especially with the welterweight division being so loaded.
So, who should he face next?
Call me crazy, or a wishful thinker, but I'd like to see him square up against Nick Diaz, who is also coming off two straight defeats.
Sure, the Stockton slugger is looking for big money fights he doesn't really deserve and won't get before he really retires -- a rematch with "GSP" and a showdown against "The Spider" -- and White and Co. will probably have a hard time convincing him to sign on the dotted line, but it would make for an interesting stand-up scrap.
It can be a good old fashion "loser leaves town" fight, if you will.