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Nate Marquardt retires from MMA

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UFC Fighters Join New Zealand Warriors Training Session Photo by Jason Oxenham/Getty Images

After more than two decades of professional competition, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight No. 1 contender, Nate Marquardt, has retired from mixed martial arts (MMA).

“The Great” finishes with a record of 35-19-2, which includes stoppages over Tyron Woodley, Rousimar Palhares, and Demian Maia, just to name a few. Marquardt was one fight away from capturing the 185-pound crown, but fell to Anderson Silva at UFC 73 way back in 2007.

“After 22 years as an athlete in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, I believe God is calling me in another direction,” Marquardt wrote in a public statement. “I want to thank everyone that has supported me throughout my career, including the UFC, Strikeforce and Pancrase. I have many fans that have stuck by me in the ups and the downs and I want you to know that I really appreciate it.”

Unfortunately, Marquardt also went through some rough patches both in and out of the cage. He became one of the first big names to get popped in the controversial days of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

But that’s water under the bridge at this point.

“I am also happy to say that I will still be involved in MMA on many levels,” he continued.” “I will continue training in all aspects of MMA and I will also continue to run my sports ministry, Resurrection Jiu-Jitsu. I am currently pursuing a degree at Gateway Seminary, and I plan on using my experience in MMA and the UFC on the mission field.”

Marquardt was last seen falling to Cezar Ferreira at UFC Fight Night 120.

In addition to his success inside the Octagon, Marquardt, 38, also held gold for the now-defunct Strikeforce promotion and was also the first middleweight King of Pancrase. In short, he’s had a long and illustrious career.

Happy trails.