USA Today Sports
At UFC Fight Night 43, every mixed martial artist who stepped into the octagon as Christian hip hop sounded throughout the arena won their fight.
James Te Huna, ranked the No. 14 UFC contender to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, entered the main event a 20-37 favorite against Nate Marquardt. Te Huna, a native of New Zealand where the event took place, got creative with his walkout for the home crowd. He arrived as warriors wielding spears danced and chanted.
Marquardt’s entrance music was less creative, but not less effective. It was the song “Come Alive” by 116 Clique.
Just 4:34 into Round 1, Marquardt pulled off the upset, using an armbar to force Te Huna to submit. “Come Alive” served as a symbol to who Marquardt credit the victory to.
Marquardt and Te Huna fought middleweight, which has a max weight limit of 185 pounds. While Te Huna—who had typically fought at a 205-pound max—made his middleweight debut, Marquardt made his return.
“I just feel like that’s what God wanted me to do, was to move back up to middleweight,” Marquardt told MMAjunkie prior to the fight. “I’d never lost two fights in a row before, so it was actually more after the second one that I was actually kind of questioning myself.”
Both fighters rode losing streaks that motivated them to switch weight classes into the showdown, but Marquardt’s was longer. Having lost his last three fights, he hadn’t won since 2012. And all three of his losses came at the welterweight division, which has a 170-pound max he struggled to adjust to.
But after coming alive against Te Huna, Marquardt has now won three of his last four middleweight fights.
Marquardt wasn’t the only fighter to use Christian hip hop as his entrance music. Neil Magny did also, walking out to Lecrae’s “Special.” He TKO’d Rodrigo Goiana de Lima 2:32 into Round 2.
Over the last few years, numerous athletes have used Christian hip hop as walkout music. In MMA, Benson Henderson has walked out to R-Swift’s “Awesome God” and Rob Kimmons to Lecrae’s “Don’t Waste Your Life.” But the pair of Marquardt and Magny is one of first to have it played for multiple athletes at the same sporting event.