Local UFC fighter Rick Story ready for challenge of undefeated foe

Vancouver fighter will take part in UFC 171

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



Rick Story intends to be the first bump in the road for Kelvin Gastelum.

Story, who fights out of Inferno Sports and Fitness in Vancouver, is scheduled to battle Gastelum in a welterweight bout during UFC 171, which takes place on Saturday in Dallas. Their 170-pound bout is slated to be the last preliminary bout shown on Fox Sports 2's broadcast, which airs from 5-7 p.m. PDT.

The headline event of UFC 171, which includes a five-bout main card on pay per view, is Johny Hendricks against Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight title that was vacated by Georges St.-Pierre. Hendricks lost a split decision to St.-Pierre in a November title fight. That was the first loss for Hendricks since a December 2010 loss to Story.

Gastelum, 22, is 7-0 in professional mixed martial arts fights, 2-0 in UFC. An Arizona native, he won "The Ultimate Fighter 17," the UFC reality TV series.

Story, 29, is 16-7 in professional fight, 9-5 in UFC.

Gastelum took to Twitter to express his desire for a shot at Story.

"He called me out on Twitter. I made it clear I would welcome the fight," Story said.

In trying to put a halt to Gastelum's win streak, Story will be trying to build his own. Story went 2-1 in 2013, including a unanimous decision over Brian Ebersole in his last outing in November. Story, 29, has not won consecutive bouts since a six-match win streak between September of 2009 and May of 2011. He has alternated losses and wins over his most recent six fights.

Story said he feels he is on a three-match win streak because he believes he beat Mike Pyle last May even though the split decision went against him.

In preparation for Saturday's fight, Story trained for a week in Vancouver and one week in San Francisco with Jake Shields, who is scheduled to fight Hector Lombard in Dallas.

"Jake's arguably the best on the ground in the welterweight division. Having that kind of talent to train with is certainly helpful," Story said.

Story also trained for a week in Vancouver with Alex Garcia, who faces Sean Spencer in the first scheduled bout on Saturday's Fox Sports 2 telecast. Hanza Salim, who aspires to a professional MMA career, has also been a strong training partner at Inferno Fitness and Sports, Story said.

Story said he doesn't know what kind of a fight it will be, but he is confident that he can succeed on his feet or on the ground.

Story said he didn't take Gastelum's challenge on Twitter personally. Showmanship comes with the territory in UFC.

Experience is one area Story has a clear edge.

"When I was younger, I always felt I had something to prove, that I had to go out and put on a show," Story said. "Now I just need to go out and do what I can do, and if I do that I will win and everything else will fall into place."