Nate Marquardt plans 2020 return, explains decision to resume MMA career: ‘God spoke to me’

One of the best middleweights to compete in the UFC could soon be returning to action.

Former Strikeforce welterweight champion and UFC title challenger Nate Marquardt is planning on resuming his fighting career after having retired from the sport in December 2017. Marquardt (35-19-2 MMA, 14-12 UFC) recently revealed his plans for a comeback in an interview with MMA Junkie.

“Yeah, that’s true, I’m going to be making a comeback,” Marquardt said. “I’ve known it for a while now, but I haven’t made it public. I’ve just been training, going to seminary, staying in shape, and helping guys like Ian (Heinisch) and stuff like that.”

Marquardt said he knew he’d return to competition just a few months after he walked away from the sport. “The Great,” who retired in part to focus on being a missionary, said God revealed to him that he’d be fighting again.

“Well it’s kind of a crazy story, man, but I had a dream.” Marquardt said. “God spoke to me, and he confirmed it later in the week by two people I’ve never met before and one friend, as well, that basically I’d be fighting again.

“That was it, man. After I retired, I didn’t train for like two months, and I actually started feeling really bad physically. I was like, ‘Oh man, I need to get back in the gym,’ so I started lifting weights, running, sparring and grappling a little bit, and then I had the dream. So basically, when I retired, I thought that that was it, but I haven’t stopped training. I love mixed martial arts. I love doing it. I love competing, but I really didn’t have a huge desire to compete in it. I was just going to train and maybe teach and stuff like that.”

Marquardt, who’s no longer under UFC contract, hasn’t signed with any promotion and has yet to have any serious conversations with organizations. He did mention of potential talks with Bellator, but nothing concrete.

Marquardt hopes to be making a comeback in the first half of 2020. He said he’s walking around at about 186 pounds, so a drop to welterweight could very well be an option.

“That’s another thing: I lost like eight or 10 pounds,” Marquardt said. “I wasn’t lifting weights that much, and in that aspect, I feel better. In wrestling and in sparring, I haven’t lost any strength. I kind of cut the weightlifting out because that part was a little hard on my joints, but the sparring and the wrestling, it makes me feel my body better, so my weight has gone down. My cardio is good now, so I’m right at the  point where I can go either way. I can easily go to 170 at this point, so that’s something I have to think about.”

Although Marquardt’s last two fights were controversial decisions to many, he did walk away from the sport on a three-fight losing streak and at 3-9 in his final 12 outings. At age 40, some would question how much more Marquardt could achieve in this chapter of his storied career.

“I’d say, you know, that’s reasonable,” Marquardt said. “That’s the natural reaction to hearing news like this: ‘He’s too old; he’s past his prime.’ But I know I have a future in this sport.”

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