“The Sponge” Tarec Saffiedine entered the Octagon in 2014 as the last Strikeforce welterweight champion. Now five years removed from his promotional debut and he won’t be returning.
Jan. 12, 2013, marked the date of the last ever Strikeforce event. In the evening’s headliner, we saw the welterweight title that had long been in the possession of Nick Diaz be contested for one final time.
The main event saw the then resurgent champion, former UFC veteran and king of Pancrase Nate “The Great” Marquardt defending against Belgium’s Tarec Saffiedine.
Over the course of five rounds, Team Quest’s resident leg kick expert picked apart Marquardt with that exact technique that he had become ever so dangerous with. Earning the unanimous decision nod, “The Sponge” was now the final Strikeforce champion and the first from his country to hold a major title in the sport.
One year later and Saffiedine was set to make his UFC debut after Strikeforce had been absorbed by the promotion.
Saffiedine would be welcomed to the Octagon by the hot rising prospect in South Korea’s Hyun Gyu Lim as the two did battle in a UFC Singapore main event. For Saffiedine, it would be yet another five-round war that saw him utilize his great leg kicks to achieve the upper hand and take the victory. The fight would receive Fight of the Night honors.
Firmly established as a top 10 welterweight worldwide now, Saffiedine followed the showing with yet another main event feature. This time against Canada’s Rory MacDonald. Unfortunately for Belgium’s finest, the future Bellator champion would be too much for him.
MacDonald handed Saffiedine the first and only loss of his career that ended by finish when MacDonald landed a perfect tight overhand right that was followed with a clean left uppercut. Punches on the mat accompanied the combination and led to the TKO stoppage.
Since the MacDonald defeat, Saffiedine has gone 1-3 as he currently rides a three-fight losing streak. The most recent fight of his came in June 2017 when he took on former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.
On Tuesday, MMA Fighting revealed that last week the 33-year old welterweight in Saffiedine was notified of his release from the UFC.
Where Saffiedine will land is anyone’s guess – assuming he plans to continue his fighting career. But there’s no denying that he would make a great addition to whichever roster he could end up joining in 2019. Whether it be somewhere like Bellator, ONE Championship, or the Professional Fighters League (PFL).
Make sure to follow The Scrap News (@thescrapnews) on Twitter.
The Scrap’s Drake Riggs is a MMA writer and YouTuber based out of Brush Prairie, Washington who specializes in feature pieces, the women’s fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. Riggs has been a passionate MMA fan since 2009 and has written for various news sources. You can follow him on Twitter (@Dre_Kriggs).