Nate “The Great” Marquardt is one of the best fighters in the middleweight division and he looks to once again prove that fact against Yushin Okami at UFC 122.  UFC 122 takes place at the Konig Pilsner Arena in Oberhausen, Germany and in the main event Marquardt will battle Okami with the winner receiving a title shot against the winner of Vitor Belfort vs Anderson Silva set for UFC 126.  A victory for Marquardt would be his second opportunity at the middleweight championship.  Marquardt lost to Anderson Silva at UFC 73 in his first attempt at obtaining championship gold.  Marquardt recently sat down with MMA Sport Magazine and discussed his upcoming fight with Okami, as well as the possibility of fighting for the title.

MMA Sports Magazine: How is camp going for your upcoming fight with Yushin Okami at UFC 122?
Marquardt: Camp is going really well.  I am ready to go.  I am in great shape and everything is coming together well so I am ready to go.

MMA Sports Magazine: Are you doing anything specific to prepare yourself to fight in Germany?
Marquardt: Well not really other then I am waking up a little bit earlier this week and towards the end of the week I am going to be waking up even earlier to get on German time and that should make the trip over and getting over the jet lag even easier.

MMA Sports Magazine: Do you feel that only having six weeks to prepare for this fight was enough time to properly train and game plan?
Marquardt: Well yeah, I think so.  I think that I actually ended up with seven full weeks of camp and I was already in great shape from the Rousimar fight and that whole camp and everything. I took a week off after that fight and then I jumped right back into camp and I really didn’t lose any of my cardio or my conditioning, my timing and that sort of stuff.  The ideal situation would have been to have more time, but at the same time, Okami is kind of in the same boat as me because he was supposed to fight Vitor Belfort, who is a little bit shorter then me, he is a southpaw and he is a different style then me, so it’s not like Okami has any time up on me.  He is in the same boat so it is going to be even.

MMA Sports Magazine: So what are your thoughts on Okami as an opponent?
Marquardt: Well, I think that he avoids damage very well, he controls the pace and the distance of the fight and he is a very patient fighter, he tends not to make mistakes and he is a very hard fighter to attack.  So one of the main things that I am trying to do is find and create openings and once I find the openings, I need to exploit them; once I get an opening I need to attack him and go for it.

MMA Sports Magazine: What do you need to do to win this fight?
Marquardt: Honestly, I think that I am better then he is in every single area, so basically for me to win this I just have to go out and do my best.  If I do that I am very confident that I will come out with a win and possibly even a knockout or a submission.

MMA Sports Magazine: Does knowing that if you win this fight you get another shot at winning the middleweight championship put any added pressure on you?
Marquardt: No, actually it is just extra motivation if anything.  Maybe it is pressure but I work really well under pressure, I deal with it well and I feel like I perform my best when there is extra pressure like that.  For me though, I look at it as extra motivation, it is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am going to make the most of it.

MMA Sports Magazine: Does this make you want to fight not to lose as apposed to going out there and trying to bully Okami?
Marquardt: No, not at all.  I do not want to do either of those to things to be honest.  One of the things that I learned when I fought Silva is that over the years I started to fight that way, I fought not to lose and it was just a safe way to win fights. Even though some of my fights were still exciting, I wasn’t putting everything into the fights that I had and I wasn’t going for the finishes 100% and you can see a clear difference in the way that my fights have gone since that point and now I am looking for the openings and looking for the finishes and I am finding them.

MMA Sports Magazine: At the end of the night whose hand is raised?
Marquardt: I definitely think that my hand is getting raised and I am going to do everything in my power to win.  Like I said before, this is a very important fight to me and I am taking it very seriously.  Okami is a very tough opponent and he will be hard to beat but I am going to do it.

MMA Sports Magazine: Assuming that you are victorious against Okami at UFC 122 who would you rather face for the title, Belfort or Silva?
Marquardt: I personally would rather face Silva just because he is one of the guys who has beat me.  He and Chael are really the only two guys in the UFC that have beat me and I want a rematch with him.  I feel that I can beat him this time.

MMA Sports Magazine: Who do you think is going to win between Belfort and Silva?
Marquardt:  I think Silva is a great fighter and I think Belfort is great fighter too, but I think Silva is going to win this fight because he has more tools to do it.

MMA Sports Magazine: Putting titles aside, how important is for you to get redemption over Silva and Sonnen?
Marquardt: Well that would be great to do that, but really the main thing for me is to get the title and if they are not on top when I get there then that’s too bad.  Really, my goal is to be the champion and I don’t necessarily care who it is.  It would be a little bit sweeter if it was Silva but at the same time if I beat Vitor I will be very happy; I will feel like accomplished my goal.

UFC 122 is going to be a night of great fights and Marquardt vs Okami should not disappoint.  Marquardt is one of the true professionals of the sport:  he shows up, works hard, trains hard and puts on the best possible fights that he can for the fans and he will attempt to do this again as he reaches for the stars one more time.

About The Author

Josh Davis
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Josh Davis is the owner and President of The MMA Corner, LLC. He has been a fan of mixed martial arts since seeing UFC 1 in his hometown. In addition to his The MMA Corner responsibilities, Josh is the editor of Scrapp! Fight Magazine. Josh has also written for MMA Unleashed and MMA Sports magazines. Josh also manages some of Colorado's best up and coming fighters and is dedicated to the positive promotion of the sport.