UFC 95: Sanchez vs. Stevenson is just a day away, and IGN has the distinct pleasure of officially, exclusively announcing three more of the most talented fighters on the planet for the UFC 2009 Undisputed roster. We've also got awesome videos of UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer making pre-fight introductions for each of the three competitors we're announcing today.
Nate "The Great" Marquardt
Nate Marquardt, 29, is a 10-year veteran in professional mixed martial arts and has compiled an impressive 27-8-2 record fighting in Rumble in the Rockies, The Bas Rutten Invitational 4, Pancrase and UFC. Marquardt is an exceptionally well-versed fighter and is proficient in a wide variety of disciplines, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kenpo, kickboxing, wrestling and Gaidojutsu, which he currently trains in under the tutelage of Greg Jackson.
Introducing Nate "The Great" Marquardt!
A three-time Pancrase Middleweight Champion, Marquardt has yet to capture gold as a member of the UFC roster. The Great won each of his first four fights after joining the UFC in 2005, knocking off Ivan Salaverry, Joe Doerksen, Crafton Wallace and Dean Lister, setting up a UFC Middleweight Championship fight against Anderson Silva at UFC 73: Stacked in July of 2007. However, the supremely talented Middleweight champ made short work of Marquardt, earning a TKO victory at 4:50 of the first round.
The Great rebounded from that loss to Silva and earned a convincing win over Jeremy Horn in his next fight, submitting him via the guillotine choke at 1:37 of the second round. That win got Marquardt back in the title hunt, leading to a showdown with Thales Leites to determine the No. 1 contender for Silva's Middleweight title. However, Leites edged Marquardt in a split-decision at UFC 85: Bedlam, dashing The Great's hopes of a rematch with Silva in the immediate future.
Marquardt came back from that loss to Leites in June of 2008 to earn a big win over Martin Kampmann at UFC 88: Breakthrough just three months later, ending the fight at just 1:22 of the first round with a TKO by punches. He'll look to make it two in a row tomorrow night when he takes on Wilson Gouveia.
Josh "Kos" Koscheck
Josh Koscheck, 31, is one of the top Welterweight contenders in MMA today. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound fighter has compiled a professional MMA record of 12-3-0 since breaking into the sport in 2004. Kos competed in on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter and advanced all the way to the semifinal round before dropping a split-decision to Diego Sanchez, earning a unanimous decision over current UFC Middleweight contender Chris "The Crippler" Leben along the way.
Introducing Josh "Kos" Koscheck!
Koscheck won his first two fights in the UFC before losing to MMA veteran Drew Fickett at Ultimate Fight Night 2 in October of 2005, then went on an impressive five-fight win streak that included a unanimous decision over Sanchez, the man who eliminated him from The Ultimate Fighter two years earlier. Koscheck was seen by many MMA fans as an up-and-coming title contender during that win streak, and he had a chance to prove that sentiment was warranted when he fought current UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 74: Respect, but Kos couldn't get past "Rush" dropping a unanimous decision and taking a step backward in his quest for a title shot (St. Pierre went on to fight Matt Hughes for the Interim UFC Welterweight Championship in his next fight after defeating Koscheck).
Following big wins over Dustin Hazelett and Chris Lytle, Kos got another shot at becoming the UFC's No. 1 Welterweight contender when he fought Thiago Alves at UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote. The fight went all three rounds, and Koscheck ultimately lost a unanimous decision to Alves, who is currently first in line for a shot at St. Pierre and the Welterweight title.
Kos is a former NCAA wrestling champion at 174 pounds, but don't underestimate his stand-up game. In his last fight, against Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC Fight For The Troops on Dec. 12, 2008, Koscheck earned a resounding first-round knockout just 2:15 into the fight. He'll be looking for his second consecutive win when he gets into the Octagon with Paulo Thiago on Feb. 21.
"The Irish Hand Grenade" Marcus Davis
Marcus Davis, 35, is a former professional boxer who came to MMA late (making his pro debut just two days before his 30th birthday), but made an extremely successful transition to the sport. Over the last five-plus years The Irish Hand Grenade has compiled a professional MMA record of 16-4-0. As impressive as his record is, looking at the record alone doesn't paint a complete picture of Davis' career. After dropping three of his first six professional fights (including a split-decision loss to current No. 1 Welterweight contender Thiago Alves), Davis went on to win his next 11 consecutive contests, going undefeated over a two-year span before dropping a decision to Mike "Quick" Swick last October.
Introducing "The Irish Hand Grenade" Marcus Davis!
The Irish Hand Grenade bounced back from that loss to Swick with a convincing win over Paul Kelly at UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben, submitting him with a guillotine choke at 2:16 of the second round. He followed that performance up by taking home Fight of the Night honors last month at UFC 93: Franklin vs. Henderson, when he battled Chris Lytle to a split-decision victory in Dublin, Ireland.
Davis, who stands 5-foot-8 and weighs-in at 170 pounds, is a fantastic puncher, just as you'd expect of a former professional boxer, but his ground game often gets overlooked despite the fact that half of his 16 wins have come via submission and none of those have been submissions due to strikes – he's a much more accomplished grappler than he's given credit for.
The Complete Roster
Brock Lesnar (Heavyweight Champion), Frank Mir (Interim Heavyweight Champion), Rashad Evans (Light Heavyweight Champion), Anderson Silva (Middleweight Champion), Georges St. Pierre (Welterweight Champion), B.J. Penn (Lightweight Champion), Forrest Griffin, Rampage Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Kenny Florian, Roger Huerta, Michael Bisping, Matt Hughes, Joe Stevenson, Antonio Nogueira, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Diego Sanchez, Nate Marquardt, Josh Koscheck and Marcus Davis.
UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine is just two weeks away, and you can be sure that IGN will have another round of UFC 2009 Undisputed roster announcements coming your way, as well as full coverage of the event, live from Ohio.