Middleweight contenders Nate Marquardt and Yushin Okami face each other this Saturday at UFC 122 in Germany. The winner is expected to receive a title shot against the winner of Vitor Belfort and current middleweight champ Anderson Silva when they face off at UFC 126 on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas.
Both, Okami and Marquardt were asked on a media conference call Friday who they would rather fight, Silva or Belfort. In other words, who do they hope wins between Silva and Belfort at UFC 126?
Yes, you know for me the most important thing is to get the title fight and fight the champion, you know that’s my dream is to become the champion. And for me it doesn’t necessarily matter who it is but at the same time, I would definitely prefer it to be Silva just because you know he’s been the champion for so long and he’s proven to be, you know, the top of the division so.
Yushin Okami (through his interpreter):
I’d would like to fight against Mr. Anderson (inaudible) since there is unfinished business between I and Mr. Anderson.
Marquardt fought Silva in July 2007 at UFC 73. It was Silva’s first title defense after taking the middleweight belt from Rich Franklin. At the time, Marquardt was undefeated inside the Octagon, he was well-rounded and viewed as a serious threat to the title. However, Silva did what he does best, he used his footwork and striking and defeated Marquardt via TKO 4:50 into the first round.
Okami fought Silva in his pre-UFC days, at Rumble on the Rock 8 in Jan. 2006. Okami was the last person to defeat Silva, although the win was due to the fact Silva was disqualified for an illegal up-kick to the head that stopped Okami in the first round.
Whether either Okami or Marquardt gets another shot at Silva remains to be seen. First and foremost, Silva has to get through Vitor Belfort on Feb. 5. If Silva can prove he is still the top middleweight in the world, then he will have to deal with one of these true top middleweight contenders, each looking for their own version of redemption.
If you never saw the Silva vs. Okami fight you can see it here (illegal kick at 5:08 mark):