Rick Story is certainly not afraid to take risks.
After barely shaking the cobwebs out of his career-defining victory over former title challenger Thiago Alves at UFC 130, "The Horror" stepped up and took the place of the injured Anthony "Rumble" Johnson to fight Nate Marquardt on this Sunday's (June 26, 2011) UFC on Versus 4 event.
The Washington native is certainly no stranger to fighting often, having once competed nine times in 10 months just to keep food on the table while working his way up the local circuit.
The rising southpaw was recently a guest on Pro MMA Radio where he discussed everything from what he expects out of Nate Marquardt to taking a fight on such short notice (four weeks) and even his title aspirations.
"Horror" even reveals how he was selected to replace Johnson in the main event opposite "The Great" after the jump:
Pro MMA Radio: Anthony Johnson was scheduled to welcome Nate [Marquardt] to the welterweight division. He gets injured. How did you come to get the fight? Did you reach out to them or did they come to you?
Rick Story: It was a little bit mutual. After the fight with Alves, my coach Pat White and me discussed that we wanted to get a fight as soon as possible. We approached [Joe] Silva and said we wanted to fight as soon as possible. Getting this possibly on the plate as long as Marquardt accepted the fight. It ended up working out that way, which was pretty cool. That's pretty much how it came about. I wasn't expecting a fight within a month, but it's pretty cool that it happened that way.
Pro MMA Radio: Did you have any hesitation when you got the call to fight Nate?
Rick Story: No, definitely not. Just because it's Nate Marquardt and he was a top contender at 185, and the whole thing with [Jon] Fitch ended up blowing up in our face or whatever, and this is another great opportunity for me to show that I belong for a title shot.
Pro MMA Radio: There's been a lot of banter in the media conference call. You got asked about it several times and you must be getting tired of it. You have a six-fight win streak and you're putting that on the line on a short notice fight. Do you look at this as a risk or are you just here to fight?
Rick Story: I don't look at it as a risk because for one I am here to fight. And any time you see me in a fight, you consider me putting that record on the line, but I don't look at it that way. I look at it as I came off that last fight unscathed and I'm in shape and I'm ready to fight again.
Pro MMA Radio: In a sense does it make it easier to get ready for a fight because you're already in fight shape and as you said, you didn't think you took any damage from Thiago and you've got four weeks to prepare?
Rick Story: I personally like it. I like fighting frequently and staying in shape. I really don't like getting out of shape and getting back into shape. If I can go into a fight camp throwing things into the gameplan that I can train and I can train perfectly and not have to worry about being in shape? That's awesome. I learn a lot quicker and I'm not having to focus on getting in shape. I'm not worried about breathing hard while I'm working hard. I'm just worried about perfect technique and it just makes it that much easier.
Pro MMA Radio: You mentioned you like fighting this way. It's not uncommon for you to fight often. Before you signed with the UFC, you fought nine times in 10 months. To a lot of people that would seem like a grueling scheduled but talk about that, that's basically fighting once a month.
Rick Story: Well, I wanted to get to the UFC as quick as possible so I wanted as many fights as I could as soon as possible. Then again, since I was making this my profession and being able to focus on my fight career, I needed to fight every month to be able to live, too. Usually at the smaller venues it's very difficult to get a big fight purse and make ends meet while doing it. It's kinda like having your back up against the wall, having to perform and not take damage and that's another motivating factor and I like it.
Pro MMA Radio: Let's talk about preparing for Nate. The big unknown is that he's gonna be making his welterweight debut. Tell me what you saw of him at 185.
Rick Story: I have to respect all of his abilities and I have to go into this fight expecting the best Nate Marquardt that there is, that there ever has been. I'm not going in to focus on and expect him to gas out because he's making a weight cut. There's no way I can let that happen. I'm going to approach him just like I approach everyone else. I'm gonna go at him, gonna keep putting the pressure. It's not a secret.
Pro MMA Radio: Did you ever fight at 185?
Rick Story: I fought there in my first fight and at some of my amateur fights. I'm pretty big. The highest weight I've ever been walking around at was 217 pounds. I fought at 205 at some of my amateur fights and my first professional fight I was still coming down from a high weight and then I fought Mario Miranda at 185 for my first professional fight.
Pro MMA Radio: What's your fighting weight on fight night?
Rick Story: On fight night, I'm usually walking around anywhere between 187 and 191 pounds, depending on how much liquid I drink.
Pro MMA Radio: When you and Pat White break this fight down looking at Nate Marquardt. Where do you see advantages and where do you see disadvantages?
Rick Story: Well, I'd say Nate is a dangerous opponent. He's not at the top of the sport for no reason. He's got great striking and great subs off his back. He's been around the block. He knows what he's doing. In preparing for Nate, it's not just sitting and preparing a gameplan, it's about working on technique and what I'm gonna do in my fight and not what he's gonna do.
Pro MMA Radio: Nate struggled with Chael and Chael used his wrestling very effectively. Did you and Pat look at that fight and see where Nate is vulnerable and what his tendencies are? Does it give you confidence looking at that fight?
Rick Story: Yeah, it definitely does. Watching that fight Chael has a lot of the same style that I do or I'd have the same style as Chael. It shows some tendencies that Marquardt has and what happens when the pace is pushed against him and it's something that I can build confidence on.
Pro MMA Radio: How does this fight end?
Rick Story: I want it to end by knockout. That's the ultimate goal and it all depends on how good of shape Marquardt is on the weight cut and how he performs at this weight. If he fades I'm gonna TKO him probably late second or third round.
Pro MMA Radio: What do you think a win does for you?
Rick Story: I think a win over Marquardt would put me in position for a title shot and I think a lot of people would agree with me. Finishing Marquardt, a former top contender at 185 pounds, a higher weight class, should get me that spot. If I get a decision and it wasn't a dominant victory or it wasn't a good victory per se, I would think that I would have to fight one more fight and win to get a title shot.
So what do you think Maniacs?
Is Story taking a huge risk by fighting so quickly after such a tough three round scrap with Thiago Alves? Or will Marquardt be too much for the rising welterweight hopeful?
For more on Rick Story, check out the replay of MMAmania.com's exclusive presentation of Pro MMA Radio right here.