Nate Marquardt file photo: Sherdog.com
Looks like it's back to the old drawing board for Nate Marquardt.
A former UFC middleweight title challenger, Marquardt was on the precipice of earning a second shot at champion Anderson Silva. At UFC 122, which took place at the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, on Saturday, Marquardt battled fellow perennial championship hopeful Yushin Okami for three tough rounds.
In the end, however, the judges awarded a unanimous decision to Okami, who will now receive a title shot against the winner of Silva's February defense against the rejuvenated Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. Marquardt will have to battle his way back up the same ladder he just climbed.
In many cases, a fighter can point to a specific turn of events or a flaw in his game plan as the reason he lost his fight. Not so for Marquardt, who believes he deserved to win the decision.
“I felt great coming into this fight. Mentally, I felt ready. I had a great camp. I had a great game plan, and, honestly, I feel like I was landing the harder shots,” Marquardt said at the UFC 122 post-fight news conference. “When he was catching me, it wasn't really affecting me, but the judges perceive it as him controlling the fight. I felt I did enough to win, but I wasn't a spectator. I was in the fight, so it's hard for me to say. Either way, I’m still one of the best, and I’m going to get back in there and be the champ one day.”
Marquardt was pressed at the conference on the reason behind his defeat, asked if perhaps Okami's long reach was the primary cause for the loss. Marquardt dismissed the idea, reiterating that he felt he did enough to come out on top.
“From inside the fight, I felt like I was winning. I was landing the harder shots,” he said. “I rocked him like three times. I was getting takedowns.”
The Grudge Training Center product did, however, offer a bit of insight into where his execution could have been better.
“I don't know what went wrong at this point. I have to watch the tape, and I have to study it with my coaches and really figure out what happened," Marquardt said. "I think part of it was that I didn't put my combinations together as much as I usually do. That could be part of it, but I’m not sure at this point.”