"I love Georges, and I know he's going to do great," Marquardt said. "This is our business. My goal is to win the title; it's not to fight Georges. I don't know that it necessarily has to happen that way."
There are, of course, precious few other ways for Marquardt to return to middleweight, a division in which he competed until this past year. However, "The Great" told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps
) he intends to stay at 170 pounds for the foreseeable future.
Another would be for St-Pierre to lose the title, potentially opening up the door for Marquardt to fight someone else for the belt. However, Marquardt seemed confident St-Pierre would prove victorious over his rival Diaz.
So could it be that St-Pierre's long-discussed move to another division, a chance to bulk up and move to 185 pounds for a superfight with Anderson Silva, could be eminent? Marquardt declined to elaborate, choosing instead to focus on the task at hand.
"Honestly, right now I'm focused on Ellenberger," Marquardt said. "All that other stuff like where I fit in a division and all that, I'm not looking at that. I don't really care. I know I'm a great fighter, and I just want to go out and prove that."
It will, of course, be a homecoming of sorts for Marquardt, who was exiled from the UFC in 2011 after failing to gain medical clearance for a planned headlining contest at UFC on Versus 4. However, White was signed by the promotion's sister company, Strikeforce, and Marquardt said he always knew the UFC door would open again at some point.
"I knew I'd be coming back to the UFC eventually," Marquardt said. "It was just a matter of when and how."
The path back to the octagon got a little cloudier when Marquardt was handed a surprising loss by Tarec Saffiedine in Strikeforce's final event. However, he insists the January result was a bit of a blessing in disguise.
"It forced me to look at every little thing I was doing wrong," Marquardt said. "I found a lot more things than I would have if I would have won that fight."
Then came the break Marqaurdt needed: A Rory MacDonald injury and subsequent card-shuffling left Ellenberger without an opponent. On short notice, Marquardt volunteered for the assignment.
"I felt like it was my time," Marquardt said. "It was the perfect opportunity, and I had to act when I could.
"I also feel like this is how it was supposed to happen. I feel like I've grown so much as a fighter in the last couple years as a person, and I think this is how it was supposed to be."
The UFC's welterweight title picture will certainly be a little more clear after this weekend's event. The top three billings all include 170-pound fights the have real meaning in the division, including Marquardt vs. Ellenberger. And while Marquardt may not have the inside track when it comes to the next shot at St-Pierre, he sounds strangely confident that his aspirations won't include that fight, anyway.
So for now, it's not about rankings or promises. UFC 158 is simply about proving what he already believes.
"I don't really care where I stand; I'm not concerned with that," Marquardt said. "I'm just concerned with being ready for this fight and making sure my mind is right. I know what I have. I know what I bring to the table. I have a lot of tools, a lot of gifts.
"I'm confident. I respect all of my opponents, but I'm confident going into this fight."