Former contender faces Martin Kampmann on Saturday night
With a dominant champion and a revolving cast of title contenders, the welterweight division seemed to have been cleared out in 2010. But in 2011, a new wave of contenders broke into the upper tier, reigniting one of the deepest division’s under the UFC banner.
Helping to lead the charge is Rick Story. The Brave Legion fighter tore through the ranks in route to cementing his place as one of the division’s best. His win over former number one contender Thiago Alves at UFC 130 earned Story a seat at the contender’s table and put him in viewing distance of a title shot. Hoping to continue his rapid climb to the top, he took a fight in less than a month’s time against Nate Marquardt in what was supposed to be Marquardt’s welterweight debut. Nothing could have prepared him for what happened in Pittsburgh.
Marquardt was pulled from the fight due to elevated testosterone levels and, 24 hours later, Story came out on the losing end of a decision to Charlie Brenneman. The loss snapped his six-fight win streak.
“I trained harder for this fight than I’ve ever trained before,” Story told HeavyMMA. “It was a pretty intense camp. I’m coming in like my old self, confident and feeling like a tank.”
While Kampmann is known for his striking skills, “The Hitman” also possesses a respectable submission game and solid takedown defense. Story, known for his powerful wrestling style, has always been willing to exchange and the thought of a scrap has him excited for Saturday night.
“I love these types of fights where I’m in there with someone who wants to actually fight. [Kampmann] is fast and he’s a technical striker. He knows how to use his movement to his advantage. He has the mentality where he gets hit and he wants to hit you right back. That’s my mentality as well. We both like to fight and once we start trading, that is where his game plan could go out the door.
“My aggressiveness and my ability to force my opponent to work are going to be big factors in this fight. I want to take him into the deep end because getting him there plays into my strengths.”
Story will be looking fight his way back to the win column and back to back losses have Kampmann looking to do the same. After dropping a split-decision to Jake Shields, followed by a controversial loss to Diego Sanchez, Kampmann has vowed to never leave a fight in the judge’s hands again. This mentality is fine by Story.
“I’m kind of in the same boat he is in. I don’t want to leave anything in the judge’s hands. Getting a win in this fight is going to keep me in the hunt for the title. Losers can’t be champions.”
Story concluded the interview by letting the UFC faithful know what to expect on Saturday night.
“Fans are going to see a shit storm.”