Multi-time King of Pancrase and the former UFC Middleweight Title challenger, Nate "The Great" Marquardt will begin a new journey for the 185-pound title shot, facing the dangerous submission artist Rousimar Palhares at the main event of UFC Fight Night 22.
Holding a professional MMA record of 29-9-2, Thirty one year old Nate Marquardt will look to bounce back from defeat against Chael Sonnen at UFC 109, back in February. Greg Jackson's MMA Academy product, Marquardt is currently 8-3 inside the Octagon, with victories over some of the best fighters the UFC Middleweight division has to offer.
Here's what he had to say in an exclusive interview for the LowKick.com community, with less than one week before his fight against Palhares:
How's your training going for the fight against Rousimar Palhares?
The training is going really well. I finished with all the hard stuff. I'm slowing down, so I could pick up at the right time.
I know that everyone keeps asking you about Rousimar's submission skills. In terms of gameplan, you're looking to keep this fight standing?
For the most part, I'm going to have an advantage on the feet, so more I can keep it there – the less he can attack me on the ground. But at the same time, I feel very competent on the ground. So if he takes me down, I will look to ground and pound him.
So basically, in your eyes his main weakness is striking?
Actually, you always seemed to me like a pretty big Middleweight. What's your regular, and current weight one week before the fight?
I walk around just around 200 pounds, and I currently weight around 195.
Do you think that this fight against Rousimar Palhares will prove that you're still one of the top contenders in the UFC Middleweight division?
Yes, definitely. Rousimar is a very tough and dangerous opponent. I feel like, beating him will secure my spot as one of the top guys in the division. And hopefully soon I will get a title shot.
What was the most important lesson you learned from a fight against Chael Sonnen?
I would say that I need to follow my gameplan. That's the lesson I learned. I did not follow my gameplan against Sonnen.
Well, the main reason behind Chael Sonnen's victory was the fact that he was able to take you down. Did you work on improving that aspect of your game?
Yes, definitely. Honestly, I always have a good takedown defense. But again, when I fought Chael, I did not follow the gameplan. I came forward too aggressively, which heated him to get a takedown. I think that if I fought differently, I would be able to stop the takedowns.
In light of Anderson Silva's recent performance, do you think there's a difference between Anderson Silva that fought you, and the one that fought at UFC 117?
Not necessarily. I think that Anderson is a very smart fighter. I think that he'll look on how he fought Chael last time and improve his game. So honestly I think that he'll give a much better performance next time against Chael.
There's an ongoing debate in MMA world about fighters who look to take the fight to the ground and keep it there. Some fans, as well as fighters, critique this approach saying it's ruining the game. What's your opinion on this subject?
I think it's a wrong mentality. You know, when I started in Mixed Martial Arts, when I first started watching it, the Jiu-Jitsu guys were beating everyone. So anyone who had a good Jiu-Jitsu would be able to take them down, to submit them or punch them on the ground and win the fight. From there, it went to guys who can stop the takedown, and get a knockout. Fighters like Chuck Liddell. Fighters like him were dominating the sport. So lately the wrestlers brought it back a little. I think it's the thing in Mixed Martial Arts, that sometimes the grapplers or the wrestlers are going to have an advantage, and sometimes it's the strikers. The way to keep yourself on the top of the game, is to be well-rounded. Not to neglect any part of your game. If you have a problem with guys taking you down, you have to defend the takedown and learn how to wrestle.
You had a pretty impressive career in Japan. Would you like to fight there again at some point?
Oh yeah. I think it would be very cool to go back to Japan and fight there. Especially fighting there for the UFC. It would be very fun for me.
Any message to your fans at LowKick.com?
Yeah, thanks a lot for the support. And if you want any additional information on me, please visit NateMarquardt.com.
LowKick.com: You can also follow Nate on Twitter, as well as on Facebook and MySpace.