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Rick Story: A Train Derailed

How does a guy who beat Johny Hendricks lose a fight to Charlie Brenneman on 24-hours notice? It’s a good question and it must be plaguing Rick Story even to this day. The once promising welterweight prospect is now hanging on for dear life in the UFC. He was scheduled to fight Sean Pierson on March 16, 2013 at UFC 158 in what was in all likelihood a “loser-leaves-town” match. However, Pierson was injured and replaced by Quinn Mulhern.

Story was scheduled to take on Nate Marquardt at UFC on Versus 4. Coming off a six-fight win streak and a victory over Thiago Alves, Story was poised to make a run at the title. However, Marquardt was not cleared to fight by the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission and had to drop out of the fight. Charlie Brenneman stepped in on 24-hours notice in a bout in which he had nothing to lose. Story, however, had everything to use. Taking on Nate Marquardt was risky, but a win would likely put him in line for a title shot. A win against Brenneman would do almost nothing to improve his standing in the division.

As it happened, Story was dominated from pillar to post by Brenneman. He has yet to recover from that loss; his record is 1-2 since that day Pittsburgh. He was dominated by Martin Kampmann at UFC 139. Story then won a lackluster decision against Brock Jardine but was finished in two and a half minutes by Demian Maia at UFC 153.

With the injury to Pierson, fate may have thrown Story a softball. Mulhern is nowhere near the fighter that Pierson is and on paper, Story should be able the Strikeforce veteran. However, it would be dishonest not to remember that Story has been beaten by injury replacements before; Mulhern has a lot more time to prepare than Brenneman did. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage: Mulhern has time to prepare for Story but Story also has time to study Mulhern’s strengths and weaknesses. Needless to say, a loss to Mulhern would derail all hopes of making a run in the UFC.

Losses can destroy fighters’ confidence; lately, it seems as if that loss to Brenneman has changed Story as a fighter. On the flipside of that coin, Johny Hendricks hasn’t lost a fight since his loss to Story and is now one fight away from a title shot. These two careers have diverged completely since The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale. At UFC 158, Story looks to finally get his career back on track and make a run at the title.

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