After a year in exile following a test for elevated levels of testosterone Nate Marquardt came back under Zuffa’s wing via the Strikeforce organization recently, and it seems that the promotion is set to throw him straight into a major fight for his debut.
During an appearance on the Inside MMA show on HDNet this week Marquardt revealed the plans and said he couldn’t be happier with the way things have worked out.
“It’s the best outcome I could have imagined, with all this. Like I said – back with Zuffa, back in a title-fight for my first fight back. It’s amazing. I also understand it’s gonna be a five round title fight for the 170 pound title,” Marquardt said.
His opponent will be Tyron Woodley who’s been knocking on the door of a title shot in the Strikeforce welterweight division for some time now after notching up a perfect 10-0 MMA record so far including wins over Paul Daley and Tarec Saffiedine.
It’s a fight that makes sense from Strikeforce’s perspective even though Marquardt has never fought in the welterweight division before. The truth is that their roster is low on star power at this moment in time after Nick Diaz departed for the UFC and Paul Daley lost three fights in a row in the Strikeforce cage.
Woodley was the only fighter who looked ready for a title fight, but he’s not yet developed into a star and so it had become clear that Strikeforce were hesitant to have him headline a show.
Now that they’ve signed Marquardt however they’ve finally got someone who they could potentially build the division around, and at the same time gives Woodley a chance to prove that he can mix it up with the best of them.
During in his time in the UFC Marquardt amassed a 10-4 record in the UFC’s middleweight division and fought for the title against Anderson Silva in 2007, losing by first round TKO.
Prior to his release from the UFC he had been set to make his 170lb debut in the headline fight of UFC on Versus 4 opposite Anthony Johnson, holding the ambition to fight his way towards a title shot.
While that opportunity passed him by it seems he’ll now have another chance to bring home a major welterweight belt if he can get the better of Woodley.