Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
A state known for its majestic scenery produced one of the most consistent and technically sound mixed martial artists of his generation in Nate Marquardt.
The Lander, Wyoming, native built a strong resume on the regional circuit but made his name in Pancrase, where he was a three-time middleweight champion. Marquardt joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster in August 2005 and rattled off consecutive victories over Ivan Salaverry, Joe Doerksen, Crafton Wallace and Dean Lister to cement his place as the No. 1 contender at 185 pounds. He challenged the great Anderson Silva for the middleweight championship at UFC 73 on July 7, 2007, only to lose by first-round technical knockout. Marquardt went on to win six of his next nine bouts, but title-eliminator defeats to Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami forced him to change course.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt took his talents to Strikeforce in 2012 and laid claim to the organization’s welterweight belt with a fourth-round stoppage on Tyron Woodley. Marquardt has been in a steady decline since, even after returning to the UFC. He has gone 3-8 over his last 11 appearances, his wins over James Te Huna, C.B. Dollaway and Tamdan McCrory overshadowed by losses to Tarec Saffiedine, Jake Ellenberger, Hector Lombard, Brad Tavares, Kelvin Gastelum, Thiago Santos, Sam Alvey and Vitor Belfort. Marquardt currently owns a 35-18-2 record.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Justin Salas, Nick Mamalis