When Nate Marquardt dropped a convincing unanimous decision loss to Chael Sonnen at UFC 109, most believed he missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime to rematch middleweight king Anderson Silva. Unfortunately, Sonnen stole his thunder – as well as his top contender spot – and parlayed that into a practically perfect performance against world’s deadliest assassin at UFC 117.
“After I lost to Chael, I realized maybe I’d lost some desire, my focus to be champion. Now I have that back fully and I feel very prepared,” Marquardt said during a recent media call. “I want to be champ and I’m one step away. The Chael fight reignited that desire. I feel like I lost to a guy I should have beaten and it makes me mad at myself.”
Courtesy of Sonnen’s alleged PED abuse, Marquardt moved that much closer to a shot at redemption – which is also served with a side with Octagon gold. Although he’ll have to get past an underrated Yushin Okami at UFC 122 before entering another championship scrap, it hasn’t stopped him from thinking about what might lie ahead.
Silva puts his hardware on the line against Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 during Super Bowl weekend, with either Mr. Marquardt or Okami-san getting next dibs. If “Nate the Great” can advance to a 5Round affair, the 31-year-old dropped his two cents on who he’d prefer to take the title from.
“For me, the most important thing is to get a title fight and fight the champion,” Marquardt stated. “That’s my dream, to become champion. It doesn’t necessarily matter who it is [that I fight], but at the same time, I’d prefer it to be Silva because he’s been champion for so long and he’s proven to be the top of the division.”
Despite taking the Brazilian less than five minutes to dispose of Marquardt back in July 2007, the former top contender is confident things will be different in their mulligan.
“When I fought Silva, I didn’t use all tools I have because I was holding back,” said Marquardt. “You can see in all my fights since then, I did a lot of damage. My last four [wins came] by knockout.”
When asked if Sonnen had provided the blueprint to dismantling the UFC’s most decorated champion, Marquardt insisted he’s known the magic formula for a minute.
“It’s been known to me for a long time that Anderson had holes in his game,” he matter-of-factly stated. “And if anything it was more of a eye opening event for the media because they put him on this pedestal like he was unbeatable and Chael was able to expose, obviously, that he’s susceptible to taking downs, susceptible to ground and pound on the end.
“Even if somebody lands a punch on him, that he actually can get wobbled.”
UFC 122 takes places this Saturday inside the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany.