Nate Marquardt has not competed inside a cage since March of 2011. Now, “The Great” will step into the Strikeforce cage to face Tyron Woodley for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title.

Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy takes place July 14 from Portland, Oregon. Marquardt-Woodley will serve as the co-main event and consist of five rounds of action on Showtime.

After being released from his contract with the UFC, Marquardt signed with the England promotion BAMMA. He never had a fight with them, and came back to the U.S. and signed with Zuffa’s Strikeforce promotion.

“It hasn’t been easy,” said Marquardt, during a recent conference call. “I believe God’s been testing me. I just feel very grateful at this point. It’s been a rough road, but I feel like I’ve overcome the challenges and am excited to have this fight.”

Marquardt is 31-10-2 in his career, and was a challenger for the UFC middleweight title back in 2007 against Anderson Silva. He also competed in a pair of title-eliminator fights before being dismissed from the promotion.

“I’ve been training hard and feel great,” said Marquardt, who is no longer taking TRT and added that he would prefer not talk about it anymore. “I have felt like this before in training and done awesome (in my fights).”

Photo credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog