The closure of Strikeforce’s doors will be a blessing to many of the fighters on their roster. At least those that will be kept aboard and assimilated into the UFC’s weight classes. Few may be more appreciative of the opportunity than Nathan Joel Marquardt. The former UFC middleweight title challenger and the current Strikeforce welterweight champion is now back where many individuals felt he should have been anyway. Marquardt has long been ranked among the best in the sport and now he has the opportunity to make an immediate impact with his former employer.
This weekend, Marquardt will be the last individual to fight in Strikeforce’s hexagon when he defends his title against Tarec Saffiedine. He looked very impressive in his win over Tyron Woodley last July; finishing his opponent with a vicious combination. Another victory like that and Nate will be welcomed back into the UFC with open arms. But where should he be placed? The UFC’s welterweight division is in a precarious position at the current time, but being the Strikeforce champion and the prominent fighter that Nate is, he should be given consideration right out the gate.
Georges St. Pierre is sitting on the throne and is facing down Nick Diaz at UFC 158. Behind that matchup is the surging Johny Hendricks, who is adamant that he deserves the shot if he’s victorious over Jake Ellenberger that same evening. After those two individuals the line is relatively short and Marquardt would fit in perfectly in that position. Allow him to reintroduce himself to the company with a bout against the winner between Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald, who also meet at UFC 158. If the UFC doesn’t think he deserves an outright title unification fight; this would be the perfect bout that would allow him to become the number one contender to the belt.
Nate’s dismissal from the UFC was an ugly situation that forced him out of the company back in 2011. It took the former King of Pancrase a whole year before he would be seen in competition again, but he seems to have turned things around completely. He’s holding one belt around his waist and with one more victory can demand a shot at another. The TRT allegations are in the past and Nate Marquardt has perhaps the best opportunity to make an immediate impact with his return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.