This time last year, Rick Story was near the top of the UFC welterweight division.
He’d won six straight in the Octagon, including back-to-back wins over Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves. Then he lost a short-notice bout to Charlie Brenneman and a tough 15-minute decision to Martin Kampmann.
In just a few months he went from possible title contender to possible free agent. He’ll look to stop his skid Friday, though, when he takes on Brock Jardine at UFC on FX 4.
“I mean obviously, yeah, it feels like I’m on the chopping block,” Story told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “But I felt that way in my last fight. Anytime I go into a fight, I want to win. When I lose, I’m probably the one that beats myself up the most. It just motivates me more to work hard in my next training camp, but I can’t sit on the past. I’ve just got to let that motivate me to do better in the future. That’s what I’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to this fight to get me going in the right direction again and come out with a win.”
Originally Story was set to face Rich Attonito. When Attonito was pulled from the card due to an injury, Story was slated against Papy Abedi. Then Abedi was injured, too, and Story ended up with Jardine, who will be making his UFC debut.
“I’ll fight anyone,” Story said. “I don’t really care. I’m just thankful that I had three weeks to prepare for this one.”
It can be difficult researching an opponent who’s been competing in smaller promotions. Story did what he could to get a glimpse of Jardine.
“I imagine the footage that’s out there is some of the best stuff that he has,” Story said. “Otherwise it probably wouldn’t be on there, but yeah, just on YouTube is really the only thing I can find. I sat and watched it and kind of got a glimpse of some of his highlights and some of his best stuff that he has.”
Besides what he saw on YouTube, Story relied on his manager when it came to accepting a bout against Jardine on short notice.
“I trust my manager,” he said. “He knows my style and he knows exactly what I’m doing. I trust him. He knows the opponent changes and if it would be good or not. He does his research. If it didn’t really seem like it would fit, he wouldn’t take it. I have all the confidence in the world in my manager and I have confidence in myself.”
Regardless of the opponent -- Attonito, Abedi or Jardine -- Story’s strategy doesn’t change much, and neither does his need for a win.
“In my opinion, Attonito seemed like he was the toughest choice, but it doesn’t matter because nothing’s going to change,” Story said. “I’m sticking to my game plan and imposing my will rather than reacting to what everyone else is doing.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:26:15).