Once hailed as one of the brightest Welterweight prospects in mixed martial arts (MMA), Rick Story has dropped two of his three most recent bouts.
"Horror" got back in the win column with a win over Brock Jardine at UFC on FX: "Maynard vs. Guida" back in June after suffering consecutive losses to recently released Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 170-pound scrapper, Charlie Brenneman, and top contender Martin Kampmann.
Prior to the two losses, Story was on an impressive six-fight win streak inside the Octagon, including wins over top contenders Thiago Alves and Johny Hendricks, solidifying him as a top contender and a rising star to keep an eye on in the competitive division.
On the cusp of possible title contention, Story ran into Brenneman, who put an end to his impressive streak by outworking him at UFC 139, forcing the young fighter to start from scratch.
The bout against "The Spaniard" was a late-replacement fight because Nate Marquardt -- Story's original opponent -- was forced out of the fight after not receiving medical clearance due to his Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) snafu
Accepting a short-notice replacement is always a roll for the dice as Story quickly learned first-hand.
Speaking top UFC.com, Story revealed he wasn't quite ready for all the "stress" and "hype" involved in co-main events, saying that he wasn't "seasoned" enough to handle all the pressures that comes with late replacements and media obligations.
"Taking fights on short notice is definitely not something I was prepared to do. Even though I was in shape, all the hype and stress and interviews and everything like that, it's normally something you work yourself into, but with me, I got a dump truck load of all-new stress put right on my shoulders. It would have been cool if I would have been seasoned enough to have been able to handle that, but I'm chalking it up as a learning experience because I wasn't seasoned, and wasn't used to all the interviews and all the pressures that it takes to be a main event or co-main event."
Looking to establish another win streak, Story will take on the crafty and dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace, Demian Maia, this weekend (Oct. 13, 2012) at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Facing one of the best submission artists in the world, Story knows the ground game is a dangerous one to play against the former Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) winner.
"Demian's one of the best on the ground in the world, I expect (him) to be trying to take it to the ground and bring it to his strength. I'm not opposed to going to the ground, but I don't want to play into his strengths. If I'm there, and he gets me to the ground or I get him to the ground, I'm going to be trying to put some punishment on him, that's for sure."
Can Story get back into the spotlight with an impressive victory over Maia, or will the Brazilian catapult himself higher up the 170-pound rankings with an impressive showing of his own?