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UFC veteran, ex-Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt announces retirement from MMA

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UFC veteran and former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt has retired from MMA after 18 years of professional competition.

MMA: UFC 212-Belfort vs Marquardt Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Marquardt may have failed to capture UFC gold, but he is still one of the respected 185-pounders in the game today. On Thursday, the former Strikeforce and Pancrase middleweight champion announced his retirement from professional mixed martial arts competition.

Nate “The Great” released a lengthy statement through his official website.

“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!

Likewise, coach Trevor Wittman was also emotional about Marquardt’s retirement after 18 years, and he expressed his sentiments through a statement of his own.

“I am so proud and honored to have shared this journey with you, and I look forward to watching bring greatness to this world through every one you cross paths with. I am greater in everything I do, because of you,” an excerpt from Wittman’s Facebook post reads.

Marquardt began his career in 1999 and mainly fought under Pancrase in Japan, before signing with the UFC in 2005. After being released in 2011, he fought under the Strikeforce banner and immediately bagged the vacant welterweight title by knocking out current UFC champion Tyron Woodley.

He returned to the UFC in 2013 and went on a subpar 3-8 run. While his last win against Tamdan McCrory in October 2016 earned him a Performance of the Night bonus, he went on to drop his next three fights against Sam Alvey, Vitor Belfort, and Cezar Ferreira, respectively.