TUF Season 1 star Nate Quarry on returning to UFC, rematch against Pete Sell
Posted on : 9/13/2007
Nate Quarry may not have had any fights since losing his bid for the UFC Middleweight title against defending champion Rich Franklin nearly two years ago but that doesnít mean Nate hasnít been busy. Nate recovered from back surgery, changed teams, and built himself back up into fighting shape in pursuit of another climb up the ladder. Now Nate returns to the UFC for Ultimate Fight Night 11 on September 19th where he faces Pete Sell in a rematch of their fight from August í05. Nate won the original encounter with a 0:42 TKO.
In the archives are several updates with Nate dating back to his days in Excalibur Fight Challenge and King of the Cage.
KM: What have you been up to in all this time?
NQ: After the Franklin fight I had trouble with my back, had spinal fusion surgery just about a year ago. Since that time I have been recovering from major surgery and getting back into fighting shape. When I had the surgery I was told I would never fight again but I chose to believe in myself and had some good people around me that believed in me. Instead of accepting what I was told I set out to make my own destiny. Three months after surgery I got clearance to twist and move and I started working with a professional boxing coach. Six months to a day from the surgery I got cleared to wrestle and grapple so I went from the doctorís office to the gym and grappled. Now it has been a matter of getting back into shape and getting the skills back up to where they were, getting my health back up to 100%.
KM: Should I say Ďleftí Team Quest, Ďno longer withí Team QuestÖhow should the split be described?
NQ: Iím not quite sure myself. I had a meeting with the owners of Team Quest and to be honest with you I wasnít happy with the direction they were taking the gym. I didnít think they were doing all they could for the benefit of the athletes. I sat down hoping to get some concessions not only for myself not only for myself but for the rest of the team and was told not only would there be no concessions but I needed to be quiet and accept things the way they were. I canít do that. They said if you wonít accept the conditions the way they are you donít need to be here. I said okay. When you sit down with your manager and he tells you point blank your ego is out of control and you are tearing apart the teamÖeverything Iíve ever done for Team Quest in my mind is to make them a better gym.
KM: What were those lean times like financially?
NQ: Its like Iíd sign a cheap contract with somebody to help me through the trying times and they wouldnít pay me and Iíd be completely broke and out of money, next thing you know there is a check in the mail saying Ďsorry we forgot about you, here is some moneyí and then Iíd never hear from them again but it was enough to carry me through the trying times. Iíve had some other friends that wanted to step up and believed in me. It has been nearly two years since I fought and half way through those two years I had major back surgery. There were long times when I couldnít do a physical job or even coach because I was laid up, fully medicated with big wounds in my side. It has been an interesting, exciting ride. When I think of all the people I want to thank, the list is so long and if you took one of those people out the journey would have been a hundred times more difficult. Not just financially but mentally and physically. Like coaches Iíve never met before who tell me ĎI want to coach youí and do it for free.
KM: Can you explain about the coaches you train with now?
NQ: Before I left Team Quest one of my complaints was they didnít have these world-class coaches. Everybody recognizes Team Quest as one of the better gyms around but most of the actual coaches have only been training three or four years and they learned their skills at Team Quest. I said ĎI donít see how this person is going to take me to the next level in boxing or muay Thaií. The highest ranked belt at Team Quest is a purple belt. I said to myself ĎI have Dean Lister in my weight class so I need to train with more than a purple belt. We had some of the best wrestlers in the world at Team Quest it wasnít their job to coach me. I had a problem with that. Iím not such an asshole Iíd call somebody and say ĎI know you are fighting on Saturday but I need somebody to help me with my double leg takedowní, especially when they are not getting paid for it in the first place. That is when I started looking around the city and here in Portland we have some phenomenal coaches.
KM: What did you find?
NQ: I was lined up with an incredible boxing coach who is teaching me head moves, combinations, and power. He lined me up with a Muay Thai kickboxing coach Daniel Burke who for the first couple weeks said Ďlet me guess how your kickboxing has gone; you went in the gym, kicked the bag a few times, they said you kick really hard, lets have you fightí. That is exactly what it was. Iím throwing head kicks now and twice as hard as before. With my jiu-jitsu coach Tom Oberhue, he has had a black belt for several years now and was one of my original coaches. I called him up and said ĎTom, I havenít worked straight jiu-jitsu in four or five years and Iím concernedí. He just stuck me on the mat and made me tap from just riding me. I told him ĎIím fighting for the best organization in the world and I canít even get guard back against you, would you please train meí. Now five months later it is a whole new ball of wax. I actually caught him in a kneebar.
KM: Do you think you are ready for this rematch against Sell?
NQ: Physically I feel great. Iím actually going to be coming in stronger and faster with better cardio than I have before. The hardest thing for me has been sparring partners but for this show coming up Iíve had friends that are faster and taller than me, bigger than me, and guys that can work me over.
KM: How do you think this fight is going to be different than your first meeting?
NQ: I actually donít think about the first time at all. It doesnít mean anything to me, especially since it ended so quickly. I know to a lot of people it was a controversial win and I donít care. I guarantee if Pete would have done that to me I would have said the exact same thing, like this is B.S., why did you stop it so quickly. Pete is the type of guy if you ripped his arm off in an armbar heíd take it away from you and beat you to death with it. There is no quit in him, heíll want to keep fighting until the very end. Same thing with me. Even with (Rich) Franklin, when I fought him I made the joke Ďthat was a quick stoppage, my hands were still upí.
KM: People are going to say Ďyou havenít fought in two years and he has lost his last few fights in the UFC, why we should get excited to watch this fight?í
NQ: From a fanís point of view it is a very exciting fight. If you watch Peteís fights he will stand and trade and throw down. As I said before, there is no quit in him even in his last loss. He didnít just roll over and give up the choke, he fought for fifteen minutes. It is a ridiculous question to me. I donít want to see a title every time, I want to see exciting fights and usually the title is the biggest letdown of the night. It is the first fight of the night on TV to set the stage and get everyone excited. You arenít going to see me and Pete circling away from each other looking to eke out a decision.
KM: We have talked before about your explosiveness and I thought answering that last question you would allude to that but Iím surprised instead you talked Pete up more. Donít hear many fighters doing that.
NQ: Iím so old Iím lucky they still have my number. Iíll just park my walker next to the cage. Only guy older than me is Randy and nobody can measure up to that guy.
KM: You still have a couple more fights in the UFCÖ
NQ: Iím on an extended contract so Iím locked in for quite a while.
KM: Most of the best fighters are still in the UFC, especially at Middleweight. Given how much the scene has changed with opportunities outside the UFC in the last year or so do you have any regrets being locked in?
NQ: All I can say is Iím definitely happy to be working for a great organization like the UFC and they want me back. Hopefully they will be looking to take care of me at the end. I donít begrudge them anything at all. Iím glad I have a job.
KM: A lot of people are going to look at you as a role model.
NQ: That is what I want. I want people to see what Iíve done and what Iíve come through and use that to motivate that in their own life, whatever that struggle may be. Iím not a saint and I wonít pretend to be. I swear a lot more than I should but I donít on interviews because my mother might come across them. I try to do the right thing most of the time.
KM: Anything else to get across to the fans?
NQ: Just thanks for sticking around and I hope they can see Iím coming back with a vengeance. Before the Franklin fight my previous five fights had been first round victories.
KM: Sponsors to thank?
NQ: Rica Max, Sprawl Shorts, Yoke.com, and 500cuts.com.
For more information check out NathanQuarry.com.
Gotta give him lots of props for working his way back to fighting!