Nate Marquardt may have been cast adrift from the UFC for using elevated levels of testosterone, but there’s still plenty of demand for his services amongst the sports other leading promotions.
Bellator is one company who have the resources to take on board a fighter like Marquardt, and since being cut from the UFC two of the promotion’s champions have been quick to call out the former middleweight No.1 contender.
First up was Bellator’s welterweight champion Ben Askren who strongly dissaproves of Marquardt’s claims that he was legitimately using Testosteron Replacement Therapy due to a medical issue.
“The worst thing about it is that he just keeps lying. Own up to it, be a man, take care of your responsibilities, you did wrong, you’ve got to admit to it,” Askren says in an interview with MMAWeekly.
Whether Marquardt is attempting to cheat the system or not, Askren reveals that he’s more than happy to face him in the Bellator cage.
“Bring it,” the wrestler says of a potential match-up between the two. “I want to be the best in the world and the only way to be the best in the world is to fight the people that are the best. Nate Marquardt, come on.”
Meanwhile Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard is also keen to get his hands on the fighter and has been campaigning heavily via Twitter for the fight to be put together.
“Yes no excuses Nate let’s make it happen,” Lombard wrote to Marquardt before also dropping his management a note saying, “I wanna beat up your boy yo.”
Of the two, Lombard is the one that interests me the most. Unbeaten in four and a half years and currently on an 18 fight winning streak that includes wins over current and former UFC fighters like Joe Doerksen, Jay Silva, Brian Ebersole, Kalib Starnes and most recently Falaniko Vitale, Lombard KO power and well-rounded skills makes him a worthy opponent for Marquardt.
The catch is that he is fighting at 185lbs while Marquardt recently vowed to continue his plan to compete at welterweight despite being dropped from the UFC just prior to his 170lb debut.
To be fair Askren, who’s currently 8-0 in MMA competiton, would also be a worthy opponent for him as well to be fair, given that Marquardt has had problems with wresters in the past. He would carry a considerable experience advantage along with a more well-rounded game and physical advantages such as height and reach and overall size.
Of course Bellator won’t be the only promotion in the race for his signature. Despite being owned by the UFC’s parent company Zuffa there is still a possibility that Marquardt could end up in Strikeforce, with the company’s CEO hinting that a big welterweight signing is forthcoming, while the newly rebooted ProElite promotion and DREAM could be amongst the other front-runners.