Nate Marquardt: The Road Back to the UFC
Nate Marquardt’s name has been synonymous with controversy over the course of his career. Nate has often found himself at the forefront of the steroid saga whenever the topic has reared its ugly head in the UFC. Twice Nate has been caught using a banned substance, and after this most recent debacle he found himself getting the boot from the UFC, just prior to his welterweight debut. Saturday night Nate “The Great” Marquardt captured the vacant welterweight title; which now leaves the question open – will he be allowed back to the UFC?
One thing that every fan of the UFC knows Dana White has no patience for users of banned substances; you get caught, you get the boot. Marquardt was first caught for a banned substance when he tested positive for nandrolone following his win over Ivan Salaverry at Ultimate Fight Night 1. While eventually cleared of this first infraction, it seems odd that nandrolone just happened to show up in his first urine test. In January 2011 Marquardt was positioned to make his welterweight debut headlining the Versus 4 event. Unfortunately, just prior to the event, Nate was forced to withdraw after testing positive for an elevated level of testosterone (of course, he was eventually proven innocent). Subsequently, Dana White noted that we would never see Nate Marquardt in the UFC again.
Hearing Nate get the boot from the UFC was a sad day for many. Despite his inability to seal the deal and lock up an opportunity to get another title shot, he’s always been known as a well rounded fighter who can put on a great show; his fight against Wilson Gouveia at UFC 95 still goes down as one of my favourite fights of all time. With Nate moving down to welterweight, it presented what many thought would be a viable challenge to long time champion Georges St. Pierre.
Fortunately, for us Nate isn’t one to sit back and wait for things to work out. After first being signed to the BAMMA UK fight promotion (and shortly thereafter released, likely for contract reasons), Nate came to back to ZUFFA under Strikeforce banner for a fight this Saturday. With his victory over Tyron Woodley he seems to be on the road back to the UFC.
Nate publicly stated after being released from his BAMMA contract that he was going to sit and wait until the UFC came back to his front door. While Dana White is known for his knee jerk reactions, he is better known for softening his stance on issues – especially when it comes to allowing fighters back into the UFC promotion. In February of 2012 Dana White, after meeting with Marquradt, stated that he would: “put him back in Strikeforce and see what happens“. I would take this to mean that you will see Marquardt back in the UFC by early 2013.
After a few successful title defences, Marquardt will likely announce that he is returning to the UFC. My prediction now, is that his first fight in the UFC will be against reigning welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre. I am thinking as it stands right now early-2013 will be the date set for the return.
At any rate, I am happy to see Nate on his way back. I don’t think it’s a matter of whether he will be back, but when. Let’s just hope he can make weight (another issue Nate is a repeat offender on), and can have his tests come back clean!
… and that is the last word.