Strikeforce Champ Nate Marquardt Willing to Fight Teammate GSP for UFC Belt

McKinley NobleCorrespondent IJanuary 9, 2013

Even though Nate Marquardt doesn't want to fight one of his teammates, the Greg Jackson MMA fighter says he won't turn down a title shot against UFC champion Georges St-Pierre.

During a series of media interviews in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Marquardt spoke about the potential situation on The Ultimate Show, stating that he'll fight anyone for the UFC welterweight title—even if it happens to be his longtime training partner:

Georges [St-Pierre] is my friend. He's been a training partner since before he won the belt. Honestly, I love the guy, but I'm not in a position to turn down a fight. I'll fight whoever I have to. I have to for my family and for my welfare. So, like I said, I can't turn down fights.

But before Marquardt can expect a UFC title fight, he'll have to defeat Tarec Saffiedine in the main event of Strikeforce's final card on Jan. 12 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

It will be Marquardt's first (and only) defense of his welterweight championship belt, as the former middleweight is expected to return to the UFC after Strikeforce closes its doors this month.

This follows over 18 months of exile after being cut from the promotion by Dana White after Marquardt failed his physical exam prior to headlining UFC Live 4, due to a positive test for elevated testosterone.

Since then, Marquardt dropped from the middleweight to welterweight division, claiming Strikeforce's vacated 170-pound championship in a one-sided victory over formerly undefeated Tyron Woodley last July.

If Marquardt does challenge GSP, however, it won't be the first time that Greg Jackson MMA teammates have had to fight each other.

At UFC 154, former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit fought St-Pierre in a title unification match, causing their head coach Greg Jackson to vacate the event entirely. Now that St-Pierre has defeated Condit, he'll defend his title next against the Strikeforce welterweight champion who preceded Marquardt—Nick Diaz.