UFC Fight Night 43: Nate Marquardt says move back up to middleweight is a 'permanent one'

USA TODAY Sports

"The Great" will make his way back up the 185-pound weight class when he faces James Te Huna on June 17, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 43 in Auckland, New Zealand. And win, lose, or draw, Marquardt doesn't plan on dropping back down to welterweight ever again.

Since dropping to welterweight in 2012, Nate Marquardt has seen less-than-stellar results.

Sure, he won the Strikeforce strap in his 170-pound debut, by emphatically knocking out Tyron Woodley in round four of their championship title fight at the "Rockhold vs. Kennedy" event in 2012, but he subsequently lost it in his first title defense to Tarec Saffiedine.

After finding his way back to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the months that followed, "The Great" was knocked out in his first two fights. First by Jake Ellenberger at UFC 158, and then again by Hector Lombard at UFC 166.

Both in round one.

And as Marquardt gears up to face James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 43 on June 17, 2014, inside the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, which airs exclusively on UFC Fight Pass, he'll be trying his luck back at middleweight, a division he fought the majority of his career at.

And it's exactly where he plans to ride out the rest of his fighting days, as he recently revealed during the UFC Fight Night 43 press conference. "I believe it's permanent," said Marquardt. "It's my natural weight and I feel like I fight best as a middleweight."

The fight against Te Huna will be number 48 in Nate's 15-year mixed martial arts (MMA) career. It's a staggering amount of time inside the cage and ring, considering he's only 35 years old.

Yet, despite the miles on his body, Marquardt plans to keep competing and lacks no motivation to get revved up for a fight.

"It's what I love to do. I feel like it's what God has called me to do. I love it, it's fun, that's it," concluded Marquardt.

Te Huna, meanwhile, will be making his debut at 185 pounds after losing back-to-back fights to Glover Teixeira and Mauricio Rua at light heavyweight.

One is coming back home while the other is looking for a fresh start, but only one of them can walk out the victor.

Who will it be?

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