A Fresh Start for Rick Story

"I’m just worried about getting the W, but when I get in there and I get hit, some composure goes out the door and all of a sudden I turn into me." - Rick Story
UFC welterweight Rick StoryExamining Rick Story’s UFC career thus far, two attributes that stand out are his toughness and his ability to go hard against top-level foes. Yet when Story looked at his fights, he only rarely saw those attributes. So after deciding to leave his longtime camp Brave Legion, his sights turned to a familiar face and a longtime acquaintance in former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson.

“Every time in Ben’s fights, he comes in and he’s in great shape and he’s really tough,” said Story. “So it was definitely something on my mind. Ben and me had wrestled in the same district in high school, and our colleges actually wrestled each other too, so we had known of each other for a long time and I got his phone number back when I first got into the UFC and we’ve stayed in contact here and there. So when I ended up leaving, coming down here and training here was one of the options that I was going to try out.”

Here is the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona, a spot rapidly becoming one of the ‘go to’ gyms in the sport thanks to the presence of Henderson, coach John Crouch, and a hungry group of fighters that not only push each other, but that are there for each other. For Story, it’s been a perfect fit at time when he needed it most, not just physically, but mentally.

“It’s just crazy how big the mental part is, for me at least,” said the 29-year-old Washington native. “It’s like I was walking under a rain cloud for the last seven years, and just getting away from that takes a whole lot of weight off my chest. Training has gotten fun again for me.”

Story + fun = bad news for prospective opponents, and tonight in Atlantic City, the recipient of the freshly motivated welterweight’s new attitude will be Brazil’s Leonardo Mafra. A member of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil season one cast, Mafra lost his UFC debut to Thiago Perpetuo in 2012 and was cut, but after going 5-0 with five knockouts on the local circuit back home, he was brought back to the UFC.

Now he’s in with Story, who is looking to get back on the winning track after a close split decision loss to Kelvin Gastelum in March. More importantly, Story needs to get the consistency he had when he ran off a six-fight winning streak in 2009-11 that included victories over Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves.

Since then, his record has been a spotty 3-5, and while he’s looked like a top welterweight in wins over Quinn Mulhern and Brian Ebersole, other fights haven’t been as impressive.

“I would say there’s only been a few of my fights where I’ve been really confident with my conditioning and my ability to go really hard for three rounds,” he said. “And I performed really good in those fights. I feel like I’m in great shape right now. I was in good shape for the Ebersole fight, but I also had the confidence that I could go hard because of the partners that I had. It was a different camp and they were smarter about things. Down here it’s really smart too. They’ve got a good setup and a plan that they follow.”

For the Ebersole fight last November, Story trained in Montreal with the Tristar camp, and this time around he’s with Henderson and company in Arizona. Given his success back then and the way he feels now, he does think about how things might have been different if he switched gyms sooner.

“I’m stepping back and looking at it, and if I had been at a different camp I probably would have elevated my game a lot faster and I would have stayed more consistent,” he said. “Things happened for me pretty quick. I got into the UFC after only ten months of training for MMA, and I was thrown into the deep end. It was a difficult time in my life, and now it’s completely different.”

A UFC vet since 2009, Story has grown up in the Octagon, with all the requisite bumps and bruises that come along with life in the big leagues. And despite having his share of hurdles to get over, wins over Hendricks and Alves (along with a pre-UFC victory over Jake Ellenberger) prove that he does have the talent to not just stay on the roster, but to make some moves in the coming years.

“I’m looking at this as a way to come out and reinvent myself,” he said. “If it (the Mafra fight) starts off slower, that’s fine with me, and by slower I mean that I come out a little more cautious,” he said. “I’m just worried about getting the W, but when I get in there and I get hit, some composure goes out the door and all of a sudden I turn into me. (Laughs) But this is definitely a way for me to reinvent myself.”

You can hear it in his voice; Story sounds a lot more at ease these days, and he seems to be finally enjoying the ride a bit. Funny what a change of scenery and some new faces can do for someone’s view of the world. That hardcore conditioning at the MMA Lab doesn’t hurt his mood either heading into what is a pivotal fight in his career.

“I’m confident on my feet, on the ground, and I’m just confident wherever I go right now because when I’m confident in my conditioning, I’m a completely different fighter from what I’ve shown.”

Watch Past Fights

토요일, 11월 5
Mexico City, Mexico


코디 가브런트가 도미닉 크루즈을 존중하지 않는 이유? 무패의 밴텀급 타이틀 도전자 가브런트가 크루즈와의 라이벌 관계에 대해, 자신이 12월 30일 UFC 207 대회 타이틀전에서 승리할 것이라 생각하는 이유를 털어놓는다.
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하빕 누그마고메도프가 대럴 호처에게 지난 4월 기록한 KO승. 누르마고메도프는 11월 12일 마이클 존슨을 상대한다.
2016. 10. 25
타이런 우들리는 UFC 201 대회에서 로비 라울러를 KO로 꺾고 UFC 웰터급 챔피언에 올랐다. 우들리는 스티븐 톰슨을 상대로 UFC 205 대회에서 타이틀 방어전을 치른다.
2016. 10. 25
UFC 202 대회 코너 맥그리거가 네이트 디아즈와의 2차전에서 승리를 거둔다. 맥그리거는 11월 12일 에디 알바레즈을 상대로 라이트급 타이틀전을 치른다.
2016. 10. 24