Writing his own Story

Vancouver fighter is coming off a big win at recent UFC card

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Did you know?

• With his win last weekend, Vancouver’s Rick Story is now ranked among the top 10 UFC welterweights. He will fight again on June 26 in the main event of a show televised nationally by Versus.

• Story said he has gained about 1,500 followers on twitter (@rick_story) and on Facebook in the past week.

• George Sotiropoulos, the Australian UFC fighter who lives in Vancouver and trains at Fisticuffs Gym, is scheduled to fight July 2 on the preliminary card for UFC 132 in Las Vegas. His opponent for the lightweight bout will be Rafael dos Anjos from Brazil.

• Brave Legion, which occupies space previously operated as a Gold’s Gym off of 139th Street east of Skyview High School, is owned and operated by Story and Pat White. They are renaming the fitness and basketball sections of the business as Inferno Fitness and Sports.

There was nothing flashy about Rick Story’s latest Ultimate Fighting Championship triumph.

Other than that, the Vancouver fighter’s camp was thrilled with the May 28 encounter against Thiago Alves as part of UFC 130 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Story, and his manager and coach Pat White, understand that knockout wins make a bigger impact than do wins by decision on UFC rankings and reputations. But defeating an experienced opponent ranked in the top-5 by most welterweight observers was still a significant step.

“It feels good to win,” Story said Friday at Brave Legion MMA, the Vancouver gym he and White own. A native of Spanaway, Story has trained at Brave Legion since it opened in the spring of 2009.

The win over Alves was Story’s sixth in a row in the UFC 170-pound weight class. It propelled Story (13-3) into the top-10 of several UFC welterweight rankings, including No. 8 by ESPN.

Story, 26, feels good enough that he plans to jump right back into the spotlight. He will fight again on June 26 against Nate Marquardt. That match will be the headline event for a UFC show in Pittsburgh and will be televised on Versus.

Story replaces injured Anthony Johnson in the Pittsburgh bout, and said the opportunity to be in a headline fight against another former UFC title contender was too good to pass up.

“I like fighting frequently. I’m not worried about it at all,” Story said about having only 29 days between bouts.

The June 26 fight will be the first dropping down to the welterweight division for Marquardt, who is 31-10-2 in the middleweight class. Despite being only 2-2 in his last four bouts, Marquardt is still ranked fifth by ESPN among UFC middleweights.

Story and White talked confidently in advance of last Saturday’s fight against Alves, then Story backed it up with his aggressiveness during the first two rounds of the five-minute fight, which was part of the main card for UFC 130.

“It just proves we’re at the top of the game,” said White, noting that Alves is affiliated with American Top Team, among the most successful MMA gyms in the world.

The Brazilian Alves was considered a top-5 UFC welterweight. Before a series of injuries over the past two years, he was a UFC title contender. The victory pushed Story’s UFC winning streak to six and helped make his case that he will soon deserve a title shot.

Story said the plan was to make Alves move around the octagon to tire him, then close the deal in the third round. Instead, Story scored enough blows during the first two rounds to withstand some solid shots from Alves in the final round.

“I wanted to go for the finish (but) it’s tough to do against tough opponents at this level,” Story said. “It’s not easy. At this level, they’re all high-caliber fighters.”

White said last Saturday’s success against a top-5 opponent such as Alves should increase Story’s faith in his skills.

“This should give him the confidence to know he can finish people, and not just hang in there and get a decision,” White said.