Nate Marquardt is in the toughest spot of his career.
Just less than a month ago, the longtime middleweight contender was set to make his welterweight debut in the UFC — a division where he was expected to make great impact. He was to meet then-surging Rick Story in the main event of UFC on Versus 4 in a fight that many expected would be his coming out party. He was already being asked what he planned to do if he were to earn a title shot against his teammate UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.
Then it all fell down.
Marquardt registered elevated levels of testosterone during his pre-fight medicals the day before he was set to face Story and was removed from the main event, then subsequently and unceremoniously fired from the UFC. The dust up was not his first with an athletic commission and, though he registered regular levels on the day of competition and is a declared patient under testosterone replacement therapy, Marquardt was vilified by many of his peers. Having recently had his indefinite suspension lifted, “The Great” spoke with MMAjunkie and had words for those select peers.
“Some of the fighters that think they’re so cool and tough by kicking a guy when he’s down –- as far as my career, this has been one of the worst times of my life, and these guys are calling me a cheater and talking crap -– I’ve taken note as to who those guys are, and I’m going to come for them,” Marquardt said. “Eventually, I’ll get them. I don’t care if it’s in a superfight or if they want to come down to my gym. I’ll beat them up for free. I think you know who these guys are -– Ben Askren, B.J. Penn, Paul Daley, Hector Lombard, cowards talking crap about a guy when he’s in such a situation. They’re trying to take advantage of the situation. They’re bullies. Those are the guys I want to beat up.”
Though Marquardt had to hear an earful from his aforementioned peers, not everyone in his life raked him over the coals and for that he is immensely appreciative.
“I want to really thank all the people that have supported me through this,” Marquardt said. “All my fans have been so loyal and supportive. I really appreciate that. They’ve stuck up for me and believed in me. My sponsors, my management and my family have all been so supportive of me.
“It’s funny. In a time like this, you really find out who your friends are. I feel blessed to know I have so many true friends.”