Rick Story Says He Had “No Hesitations” Accepting Bout with Nate Marquardt
By Kelsey Mowatt, photo courtesy Brave Legion
26 year-old Rick Story doesn’t have time to waste in his quest for a shot at the UFC welterweight title. Despite scoring an impressive unanimous decision win over perennial contender Thiago Alves at UFC 130 on May 28th, to entrench his position as one of the division’s fastest rising commodities, Story has elected to throw down with Nate Marquardt on June 26th. As Story sees it, why wait several months for another big name fight when one gets offered up just a few weeks away?
“I had no hesitations,” Story (13-3) told FCF recently, when asked for his initial reaction upon being asked if he would be willing to step in for the injured Anthony Johnson. “Everyone’s been asking me why I’m fighting so soon but when I first started fighting I was fighting every month. I loved it.”
Coming off what is unquestionably the biggest win in his career to date, Story will soon face yet another notable name in Marquardt, who like Alves has been in the title shot mix for some time. Of course, Marquardt made his name in the UFC competing as a middleweight, and it will be interesting to see how the veteran performs cutting down to 170lbs.
“I think it’s another pretty good opportunity,” said Story while discussing Marquardt, who has almost three times as many fights as him. “I’m on a pretty good streak right now and it is his first weight cut down to 170. He’s a big guy but he’s going to be the same weight as me. At least for the weigh-ins, so, as far as skill he’s an awesome fighter. It’s going to be good when I win.”
While Marquardt’s weight cut will be one of the central back stories to the upcoming fight, it will be interesting to see what strategy each man employs come June 26th. Marquardt has demonstrated his ability to finish fights standing or on the ground on numerous occasions, and could be the most well rounded fighter Story has faced to date.
“He poses a threat everywhere,” Story acknowledged. “He has really good striking. He’s very crafty and he knows how to win rounds; he’s very good at submissions…I think he’s hungry and he’s going to try to make a statement in this fight. I feel like I’m also pretty well rounded though and I think I pose a threat for anyone. It’s going to be a good fight.”
While Story will face a stern test when he faces Marquardt later this month in Pittsburgh, it’s hard not to speculate as to what would come next, if he indeed is able to defeat the accomplished vet. A title shot may not come to pass as a result of a win, but it would certainly position Story within striking distance.
“Well I’m knocking on the door right now for that contention spot,” said Story, who has now won six straight in the Octagon after dropping his UFC debut to John Hathaway in June, 2009. “I think beating a guy like Marquardt coming down from 185, who fought for the title at 85, and I beat Thiago Alves who fought for the title at 170, I think knocking off these guys means I’m knocking on the door.”
Story was clearly offered the Marquardt fight as a result of his win over Alves, who he concedes proved to be an extremely tough challenge.
“For the first two rounds it went well,” said Story, who controlled much of the action throughout the first two rounds. “The game plan was to go in and get him tired and then start using a lot more stand-up in the third . He came to fight; he was in shape. He hit me a few times that made me want to close the distance, so I didn’t follow the game-plan as much as I would have liked in the third round.”