UFC middleweight Nate Marquardt may say he won’t be fighting with pressure on his shoulders against Yushin Okami at UFC 122, but some may find that hard to believe. If he wins, he gets a title shot – a rare second title shot. It’s that simple. All that is left to do in his career is to take home the UFC middleweight strap, which clarifies just how much is on the line in Germany for Marquardt. “Nate the Great” shared with Fighters.com that his focus for Okami – and a title shot, will be razor sharp, something that wasn’t the case when he lost to Chael Sonnen at UFC 109.
“When I watched the Chael fight, I realized I lost some focus of my desire to be champion. Now I have that back fully 100% and just very excited for the fight and feel very prepared and very ready.”
Okami, like Marquardt, has recently lost to Chael Sonnen. Yet, Marquardt says he is not looking to replicate how Sonnen defeated Okami. In fact, he said watching the Sonnen/Okami tape has not been of much use at all.
“The bottom line – Chael is a different style fighter than I am. I am going to be looking for openings to finish the fight. It is not going to help me that much. That fight, he fought completely differently than I am going to fight him. It doesn’t help me that much to watch that fight. There were other fights more valuable for me to watch.”
If he gets past Japan’s most successful UFC fighter, Marquardt is quite confident about facing Anderson Silva, should he defend the title against Vitor Belfort. He feels Silva has always had holes in his game yet only since his narrow title defense victory over Chael Sonnen has the mainstream MMA media taken notice of the “The Spider’s” flaws.
“It’s been known to me that Anderson has holes in his game and if anything it has been eye opening for the media because they put him on this pedestal as if he was unbeatable. Chael was able to expose, obviously that he is susceptible to take downs, and ground and pound and even if someone lands on a punch he gets wobbled.”
But first things first, and Marquardt has a giant obstacle in Okami blocking his second-chance title shot. Will this go to the ground or stay standing … Marquardt didn’t divulge particulars, but sounded quite confident in his general game-plan.
“I fight best when I look for the opening and wait for the opening to come and then I capitalize and go for the finish 100%. That how I fight best, how I do the most damage and this fight is not going to be any different.
How does Marquardt beat Okami? We want to hear your prediction? Which fight at UFC 122 has got you fired up.