Nate Marquardt Announces His Retirement from MMA After 18-Year Fighting Career

Nate Marquardt announced that he's calling it a career

Nate “The Great” Marquardt is calling it a career.

The former UFC title contender and former King of Pancrase announced his retirement on Thursday following a career that stretched back all the way to 1999 in his first professional mixed martial arts bout.

“I have had many accomplishments and victories as well as many trials and upsets in my career,” Marquardt wrote on his website. “I have won four 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 six 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.”

Marquardt, 38, fought all over the world during his mixed martial arts career including a stint in Japan where he fought for Pancrase before signing with the UFC in 2005.

From there, Marquardt worked his way into title contention with four straight wins before suffering a knockout loss to Anderson Silva in his only championship fight under the UFC banner.

Marquardt remained a top 10 ranked middleweight throughout his UFC career but he eventually left the organization and signed a contract with Strikeforce where he would transition to a new start as a welterweight.

His stint with Strikeforce would only last for two fights but one was a huge victory as Marquardt became welterweight champion with a vicious fourth round knockout against Tyron Woodley.

Marquardt didn’t find the same kind of success at 170 pounds once he returned to the UFC and he ultimately decided to move back to the middleweight division. From there, Marquardt went on a roller coaster ride through the latter part of his career, often time bouncing back and forth between wins and losses.

Most recently, Marquardt suffered a three fight losing streak culminating in a pair of heartbreaking decision defeats to Vitor Belfort and Cezar Ferreira.

Now Marquardt has decided to retire from the sport of mixed martial arts but he will remain a fixture in the sport as he continues to coach and train the next generation of fighters while also working on a degree where he hopes to do mission work across the globe.

Marquardt’s full statement is below:

“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. 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! 

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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