Nate Marquardt is planning a return to mixed martial arts sometime next year.
The former Strikeforce champion and UFC title challenger recently confirmed to MMAjunkie.com that he hopes to make a comeback in 2020 after announcing his retirement at the end of 2017.
“Yeah, that’s true, I’m going to be making a comeback,” Marquardt said. “I’ve known it for a while now, but I haven’t made it public. I’ve just been training, going to seminary, staying in shape, and helping guys like Ian [Heinisch] and stuff like that.”
Marquardt initially retired following a split-decision loss to Cezar Ferreira at UFC Fight Night 120, his third consecutive defeat within the Las Vegas-based promotion. The 40-year-old Colorado native has won just three of his last 12 bouts dating back to January 2013. Still, Marquardt felt a strong spiritual pull to return to active competition.
“Well it’s kind of a crazy story, man, but I had a dream.” Marquardt said. “God spoke to me, and he confirmed it later in the week by two people I’ve never met before and one friend, as well, that basically I’d be fighting again.
“That was it, man. After I retired, I didn’t train for like two months, and I actually started feeling really bad physically. I was like, ‘Oh man, I need to get back in the gym,’ so I started lifting weights, running, sparring and grappling a little bit, and then I had the dream. So basically, when I retired, I thought that that was it, but I haven’t stopped training. I love mixed martial arts. I love doing it. I love competing, but I really didn’t have a huge desire to compete in it. I was just going to train and maybe teach and stuff like that.”
Marquardt is a former King of Pancrase and Strikeforce welterweight champion who challenged for middleweight gold at UFC 73, losing to Anderson Silva via first-round TKO. Marquardt is no longer under UFC contract and hasn’t had any serious discussions with any other organizations regarding his return just yet. However, it appears that he plans on competing at 170 pounds wherever he lands.
“That’s another thing: I lost like eight or 10 pounds,” Marquardt said. “I wasn’t lifting weights that much, and in that aspect, I feel better. In wrestling and in sparring, I haven’t lost any strength. I kind of cut the weightlifting out because that part was a little hard on my joints, but the sparring and the wrestling, it makes me feel my body better, so my weight has gone down. My cardio is good now, so I’m right at the point where I can go either way. I can easily go to 170 at this point, so that’s something I have to think about.”