Nate Marquardt Dan Miller UFC 128Nate Marquardt speaks with a quiet confidence that will never be mistaken for bravado.

Maybe that’s why he’s often overlooked as one of the longstanding veterans of the sport, when, in fact, he’s been fighting professional nearly 14 years.

All that time and 44 professional bouts has taught Marquardt a thing or two, and chief among them is to not look past what’s immediately in front of you.

He has done that in the past, looking past an opponent or two while fighting chiefly in Japan in the early part of his career, and he paid for it. He was usually lucky enough that he paid for the mistake by making what should have been an easier victory a long, hard battle.

On the verge of finally making his way back into the UFC, the Strikeforce welterweight champion still has a battle in front of him come Saturday night, against Tarec Saffiedine, in defense of his belt.

You might think with the Octagon beckoning, Marquardt could easily find himself looking beyond Saffiedine, who has a third of Marquardt’s experience, both in terms of bouts and time as a professional.

That’s not so.

“It’s not hard for me,” said Marquardt in a media scrum at UFC 155. “I’ve made that mistake before.

“I assume that I will be in the UFC after this fight and I’m not concerned about that, so it’s not really an issue for me. I just look forward to my fight.”

Marquardt exited the UFC amidst a flurry of controversy, when UFC president Dana White gave him the boot following his disqualification from a headlining bout due to trouble with his testosterone levels being too high, while being on a TRT program.

That was nearly two years ago, but Marquardt has persevered, finally putting himself on the cusp of a return.

“Everything is resolved. I’ve gotten all my issues straightened out now,” Marquardt said, before adding, “That was one of the toughest things in my career, but no hard feelings. I feel like I’m blessed where I’m at.

“When I won the Strikeforce title, that was like redemption for me. There were a lot of things leading up to that that were good for me, but that was the climax.”

White hasn’t made a definitive declaration that Marquardt is back in the UFC regardless of what happens in his fight with Saffiedine, but he has indicated that it’s likely, as there was never a hard line against Marquardt, just disappointment.

“Yeah, probably,” White answered when asked about Marquardt’s prospects of returning to the UFC. “I would have to say so. I was never in a bad way with him. I like Nate Marquardt; he’s one of the nicest guys ever.

“You know how I get; I get bummed out when guys do stuff like that. You’re a professional; show up here and do what you’re supposed to do.”

And that’s exactly what Marquardt intends to do on Saturday night in Oklahoma, take care of business against a fighter that most believe he should defeat.

“I feel like I’m a better fighter, a better athlete,” comment Marquardt, “and if I come in there with my ‘A game,’ I’m gonna be able to finish him.”

Check out what else Nate Marquardt had to say about his final Strikeforce fight and the prospect of him returning to the Octagon…

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