Former Strikeforce welterweight champion and UFC middleweight title challenger Nate Marquardt has announced his retirement at the age of 38.
After enjoying great success in Japan’s Pancrase promotion, winning the King of Pancrase crown three times at middleweight, Marquardt debuted in the UFC in August of 2005, scoring a unanimous decision win over Ivan Salaverry.
Subsequent victories over Joe Doerksen, Crafton Wallace and Dean Lister were enough to earn Marquardt a crack at then middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva. Silva, however, was at the height of his considerable powers in July of 2007 and Marquardt’s bid for gold came to an unsuccessful end at 4:50 of the very first round.
There were ups and downs for Marquardt over the next several years, as he mixed impressive wins over the likes of Jeremy Horn, Martin Kampmann, Demian Maia, and Rousimar Palhares with losses to Thales Leites, Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami.
Marquardt was later released by the UFC in unfortunate circumstances in 2011.
Following his release, the fighter told Ariel Helwani that he had been given a therapeutic-use exemption that allowed him to pursue testosterone replacement therapy after being diagnosed with low levels of the hormone. However, the therapy later led to Marquardt presenting with levels of testosterone that were too high for the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission to clear him for a fight with Rick Story at UFC on Versus 4. This incident, which cost the June 2011 show it’s headliner, led directly to Marquardt’s release.
When he returned to action in July of the following year, Marquardt was down at welterweight. In his debut for the Strikeforce promotion, ‘Nate the Great’ felled Tyron Woodley in brutal fashion to claim the organization’s vacant 170-pound title.
He dropped the title to Tarec Saffiedine via decision the following January.
Two months later, Marquardt returned to the UFC, where consecutive stoppage defeats to Jake Ellenberger and Hector Lombard inspired an ascent back to 185lbs. A submission win over James Te Huna followed, but Marquardt would close out his career by incurring six losses in eight fights. His most recent defeat came at UFC Fight Night 120 on November 11th, when he dropped a split decision to Cezar Ferreira. It was Marquardt’s third straight loss.
Marquardt revealed his decision to call it a day in a lengthy statement on his website on Thursday.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Since I became a Christian, this has been one of my favorite passages in the Bible,” wrote Marquardt. “Jesus said we must become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. The humility that a child has is shown in their dependency on and trust in their parents. I have had many accomplishments and victories as well as many trials and upsets in my career. I have won 4 world titles and I have subsequently lost three of them. I have had many winning and losing streaks. I have battled chronic injuries and had 6 surgeries. I have learned that I can trust God in every situation and need to put him first. After 22 years as an athlete in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, I believe God is calling me in another direction.
“I want to thank everyone that has supported me throughout my career, including the UFC, Strikeforce and Pancrase. I have many fans that have stuck by me in the ups and the downs and I want you to know that I really appreciate it. I have been blessed to work with so many of the best coaches and training partners in the world and I have much gratitude for every moment of it. I cherish all the relationships that have been formed through this that sport we love. I am exceedingly grateful for those closest to me: my coaches, teammates, friends, wife and family. Above all, I thank God for his provision, protection, patience and guidance through my career.
“I am also happy to say that I will still be involved in MMA on many levels. I will continue training in all aspects of MMA and I will also continue to run my sports ministry, Resurrection Jiu-Jitsu. I am currently pursuing a degree at Gateway Seminary, and I plan on using my experience in MMA and the UFC on the mission field. At this point, my family and I are praying for direction for where God is leading us globally and by what means. Wherever and however we go, I believe God will use MMA in some capacity, either teaching at a gym, coaching fighters, running a sports ministry, and/or teaching seminars. Either way, we are excited for this next season in our life as a family and we are confident that God is directing our paths!”
Marquardt retires with a professional record of 35-19-2 having gone 13-12 in the UFC.