Greg Jackson-trained middleweight Nate “The Great” Marquardt is putting all of his focus into his upcoming fight with Japanese judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama, which is scheduled for March. That is why, as he recently told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, he is not paying attention to any criticism delivered his way stemming from his disappointing UFC 122 loss to Yushin Okami–even if that criticism comes from his boss, UFC president Dana White.
White told gathered press at the UFC 122 post-fight conference that Marquardt chokes whenever there is something on the line in his fights, saying, “Listen, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy than Nate Marquardt. He’s a great guy. Nice kid, choked tonight. You already blew a title shot once, you’re in a fight for the title shot again in the 3rdRound and you’re not throwing any punches or kicks? [If you’re a professional], you’re going to go after it in the last round to get your title shot.”
Despite initially releasing a statement in which he agreed with White, Marquardt told Helwani that the assertion he is a choker is simply untrue.
“I don’t really pay attention to that kind of stuff,” Marquardt said. “It’s just not true of me. You have to deal with people that talk crap all the time and just basically brush it off. I gotta stick to what I gotta do.”
Marquardt explained that he is only interested in listening to the criticism levied at him by his coaches and training partners, and that all other sources must be ignored.
“I don’t really pay attention to the criticism. I criticize myself enough,” he said. “I listen to the instructions of my teammates, coaches. So I’m focused on what I gotta do to win this fight. I feel like I’m one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC and I feel like I will be able to prove that again.”
Marquardt will attempt to prove himself this March 19th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on the main card of UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans.