After a long and tumultuous road, the former Middleweight title challenger is back in the UFC, albeit this time at Welterweight. Nate Marquardt is scheduled to take on Jake Ellenberger on March 16th at UFC 158. Marquardt’s entire career has been a series of peaks and valleys; his worst moments occurred both in the cage and outside of it.
UFC 73: After taking Dean Lister to a decision in January of 2007, Marquardt was awarded a title shot against the ever-dangerous Anderson Silva. After fighting his way through Pancrase and returning from a positive test for Nandrolone in his first UFC fight, Marquardt had come a long way. “The Spider” had technically never defended his belt because his bout with Travis Lutter was deemed a non-title fight. We weren’t sure what to expect and Marquardt looked like a legitimate, well-rounded fighter who could threaten Silva. We were wrong; Silva toyed with Marquardt for four minutes before finally swarming on Marquardt. Silva viciously finished the fight in the first round and Marquardt would never get another chance to challenge for the title.
UFC 109: Marquardt had recovered from a controversial lost to Thales Leites to work his way back into the Middleweight title picture. On February 6, 2010, all Marquardt had to do was battle the one-dimensional Chael Sonnen to win another shot at Anderson Silva’s belt. He simply had to fight off Sonnen’s takedowns, which everyone knew were coming. Not only did Marquardt fail to stop the takedowns, he was thoroughly dominated throughout the bout. His submission attempts were slow and he failed to finish the submission-prone Sonnen when he caught him in a triangle choke. Once again, Marquardt failed to perform when the stage was the biggest. It was back to the drawing board for the Middleweight contender.
UFC on Versus 4: Marquardt was scheduled to take on Rick Story, but on the day of the weigh-ins, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission announced that Marquardt was not medically cleared to fight. There was a lot of confusion around the circumstances of Marquardt’s removal from the bout. Dana White was incensed and fans knew that something serious had happened. A few days later, it was discovered that Marquardt failed to follow the procedures to qualify for a Therapeutic Use Exemption for Testosterone Replacement Therapy. As a result, he was cut from the UFC and his career was left in limbo. It was almost a year and a half before he was able to fight again after his blunder. Again Marquardt was tied to performance enhancing drug use and it became clear accusations of cheating would haunt his entire career.