Nate Marquardt Returns to Zuffa, Signs With Strikeforce

Nate Marquardt

Nate Marquardt

First fight could come against Woodley for vacant welterweight title

The bizarre Nate Marquardt story has come full circle – almost.

The former UFC fighter, who was released from the promotion last June, is now back under the Zuffa umbrella – with Strikeforce. The news was announced late Tuesday night on “UFC Tonight” on Fuel TV.

And further, it was reported that Marquardt is expected to debut with the promotion this summer – perhaps against Tyron Woodley for Strikeforce’s vacant welterweight title.

Marquardt (31-10-2, 10-4 UFC) last fought nearly a year ago, winning a unanimous decision against Dan Miller at UFC 128 in Newark, N.J. After that fight, he decided to drop from middleweight, his home for his entire career, to welterweight. A main event against Anthony Johnson was booked for UFC on Versus 4 in Pittsburgh, Pa. When Johnson pulled out with an injury, Rick Story was called in as a replacement.

But on weigh-ins day, Marquardt was not cleared to fight by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission due to elevated testosterone levels. Charlie Brenneman was brought in to face Story, and Marquardt was cut from the UFC by president Dana White. Marquardt later admitted to getting a doctor’s approval for testosterone replacement therapy due to low levels in his system, and that the levels did not return to the allowable level in time.

Marquardt would go on to sign with BAMMA and was expected to compete for the British promotion’s welterweight title against Yoshiyuki Yoshida earlier this month. But when the promotion pushed the fight back to March, Marquardt asked for his release – and received it, never having competed for BAMMA.

Marquardt, a former King of Pancrase middleweight champion, debuted with the UFC in 2005 – and tested positive for steroids after his first fight. His win over Ivan Salaverry in that fight was not overturned, though he was suspended for five months by the Nevada State Atlhletic Commission.

He started his career 4-0 in the UFC, earning a middleweight title shot against Anderson Silva at UFC 73. He lost by first-round TKO in Silva’s first official title defense after winning the belt against Rich Franklin. After the loss to Silva, Marquardt twice put himself in a position to get a rematch with the champ – and twice he lost, losing unanimous decisions to Chael Sonnen at UFC 109 and Yushin Okami at UFC 122.

Now Marquardt will again apparently get a chance at a belt – though it will be for Strikeforce and not the UFC.

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