Exclusive Interview: Nathan “Rock” Quarry

By Percy Crawford


Exclusive Interview: Nathan “Rock” Quarry

UFC middleweight contender talks about his comeback, back surgery, UFC 68 and more!

PC: How has everything been going Nate?

NQ: Everything has gone great for me. My training is going through the roof and I have some great sparring partners; everything is going real well.

PC: You’re no longer with Team Quest. Who are you training with now?

NQ: Right now I’m kind of training here and there. I’ve got several gyms that I go to to really get what I need in the MMA world. The MMA fighter’s aren’t as good as professional boxers, Muay Thai or black belt Jiu Jitsu. Occasionally you will find someone who is a specialist in those areas, but on a whole, we haven’t been around long enough to find the coaches that are on Olympic level of boxing or wrestling and stuff like that. What I’ve been finding is, swallow my pride and go out to the boxing gyms, find the boxing coach that is doing an incredible job and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been finding the boxing coaches and the Jiu Jitsu coaches and working with them and it’s making my game go through the roof.

PC: UFC 68 seemed like it would’ve been ideal for your comeback considering everyone on there had some kind of comeback story. What did you think of that card?

NQ: That was an exciting night. Randy Couture coming back and winning the title, the heavyweight title for the third time; that’s just amazing. It was like when George Foreman came back and won the title. It’s one of those stories when you look at it and say if he could accomplish that much and he could rise to that kind of a challenge, what am I doing sitting on my ass. It’s time for me to get up and put down the chips and go to the gym or go do my job better or be a better father or husband or whatever. I think that really raises the bar for all of us to set our sites a little higher and not be satisfied with mediocrity.

PC: How is your back doing after surgery and are you back training full speed?

NQ: I am. I am back to full speed training. 6 months after my surgery, my surgeon gave me the go ahead. He said, “man you’re as solid as you’re going to be.” He said it’s not going to break and I can get back into it. It’s been kind of a slow process after the first few weeks and now I’m really regaining the confidence in my back knowing it wasn’t going to break. It was about 3 weeks after I had been given the go ahead I had been training with Josh Haynes and he shot a double leg take down on me. He picked me up over his head and slammed me down to the mat and broke his shoulder right into the area where my surgery was to the point. For a split second, I was like, “Oh my god, am I going to be able to walk again?” I popped right back up and there were no problems and later on I did the exact same thing to him. I picked him up over my head and slammed him and when I went home that night I said, “I guess this worked.” I have belief in myself and the surgeons did a great job and the procedures they used were great. I’m ready to go man. I’m full speed.

PC: What weight class will you be fighting at and when will you like to get back in the octagon?

NQ: Yes I will still be at middleweight. People always come up to me and ask if I’m going to drop down to welterweight, but they don’t realize I weigh around 205 pounds; that’s a pretty hard cut, 35 pounds. I’m very compact though, so people don’t realize I don’t have a lot of extra mass on me. I have a tough time making 185, so dropping another 15 pounds would be crazy. I’m hoping towards the end of the summer to be back. I feel like a lot of things are better than they were before the surgery. I just want to take my time, get all of my strength and conditioning back, get my timing back and I just don’t want to be in a rush. When I get back in there, I want to have full belief in myself and the work that I’ve been doing and put on a good show.

PC: You haven’t fought since November ’05. If you had a fear in your 1st fight back in the octagon, what would it be?

NQ: No, I just don’t see any fear. When I fought Lodune Sincaid for the UFC, I was on The Ultimate Fighter show and I never got a chance to compete on the show. My first fight in the UFC was down at the Cox Pavilion in front of a huge crowd on The Ultimate Finale and that was the 1st fight I had in a year and a half. I had the long layoff, all the ring rust and was still able to go out there and deliver my A game. I think especially as a fighter, whether you have a fear or not you can’t admit it. You don’t want to tell yourself, well this I have to worry about. As a fighter you can’t do that. You have to believe you are best prepared as you can be. I can’t worry about what you’re going to do; you need to worry about me. Otherwise you will “what if” yourself to death all the way through your career.

PC: Rich Franklin said he never went back and watched the Anderson Silva fight. Have you ever went back and watched your fight with Rich and what did you learn from that loss?

NQ: I did watch it 1 time. I’ve only seen it once. I’m not real big on going back and reliving an experience like that over and over again; as far as sitting down watching it. I don’t think it’s really enough tape there for me to look at and realize what I did wrong. In my mind it was pretty obvious what went wrong. I went in there and I set a goal for myself a year previous to the fight that I was going to fight for the title. When I got into the cage against Franklin, you see a smile on my face which had never been on my face before a fight and it was there because I had achieved my goal. I was fighting for the championship. I realized this months later that I should’ve set my goals a little bit higher. I should’ve set it to win the championship. Whether or not I would’ve won the championship, Franklin would’ve still had something to say about that, but I would’ve gone in there with the mindset of, “Here I am and now it’s time to execute what I need to do to achieve my goal.” Instead of getting in the cage thinking I’ve made it. That was the biggest thing for me, you know? I don’t come from a sports background. I never had too much of a mentor to tell me how to get where I’m trying to go. It’s always been a learning process.

PC: Rich made his comeback at UFC 68. Do you think you saw the old Rich Franklin or did you see some hesitation?

NQ: It looked to me like Rich is coming back. I can see that he felt a little nervous after his loss to Silva. I think that was a big wake up call for him; just like me. Rich and I have very similar careers where we’ve gone through our entire career and never really been dominated. His only other loss, a guy was able to land a hook and win. My only other loss was a decision that I didn’t agree with. When I went into the Franklin fight and I started to get hit, my mind automatically was like, “Wait a minute this isn’t suppose to be happening. I’m supposed to be winning this fight. Why doesn’t he realize how dominant I am?” Then your mind starts playing tricks on you and you can see when Rich takes that hard first shot he starts to back away. He looked confused, like this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Now that he’s coming back and making his way up to the top, he’ll remember what it was like to be in a brutal war and now he’ll expect to get hit and get damaged; that’s a part of the job. I think he’ll get stronger and better and build more confidence as each fight goes by.

PC: Rich was able to get right back in there after his loss and prove himself against Jason Macdonald. How difficult has it been for you to lose the way you lost to Rich and not be able to get right back in there and prove you’re better than that?

NQ: It’s kind of a mix feeling. I’ve been able to take this time and really learn from it. Instead of kind of masking over it and saying I had a bad night, I’ll show them what’s what in my next fight. I’ve been forced to sit back and analyze what happened and why did I lose, what was my mindset and where do my skills need to be to take me to the top. It also showed me who the people are that’s going to stand by me through the tough times. I found out who is going stand by me through a win or a loss. That’s really the way it goes. When you’re on top and you’re winning you have a lot of people to stand by you. When you lose, a lot of people go away and it’s really good to learn those things. You use these things to better yourself. Really fighting in a ring or a cage that’s really a metaphor for life than anything. You need to get in there and bring you’re A game and win or lose, you need to do the best that you possibly can. Everybody has setbacks. It’s very few champions around that have never had a loss, but it’s how you take those losses and grow from that.

PC: The ultimate goal in the middleweight division is a shot at Anderson Silva. Do you feel like he was exposed in any way against Travis Lutter?

NQ: I was surprised at how easily Lutter was able to get him down to the ground. I thought a few times Lutter was in position where he could’ve finished Anderson. I think he was very nervous and it seemed to me that he went into the fight with a self-defeated attitude; not making weight and all. His skill set…I thought he had everything he needed to beat Anderson Silva and he just wasn’t able to deliver that night. If they were to fight again, maybe it will go the other way.

PC: Is there anybody right now that you are kind of eyeballing to be your comeback fight?

NQ: (Laughing) Man I really don’t think about stuff like that and if I did I probably wouldn’t say because I don’t want anyone analyzing my game and trying to peep me out. No, to be honest with you I love to watch the fights and see what the game is. There are so many tough guys in the UFC right now and now it’s just a matter of getting back into the mix and making sure you’re healthy, strong and ready to go and just get in there and deliver.

PC: I look forward to seeing you back in the octagon. Is there anything you want to say in closing?

NQ: I want to thank my sponsors, Sprawl Shorts, Yokd clothing and Metabolic Adaptation, that’s a supplement company that’s really been helping me out. If you haven’t tried their stuff man it’s just amazing. I just want to thank everybody for sticking around and supporting me and I hope to be back later on this year like I said and delivering, putting on a good show. That’s my goal.


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