Rick Story proved himself as one of the Top 10 welterweights in MMA
with his unanimous decision victory over Thiago Alves at UFC 130. And now Story isn't wasting any time getting back into the cage.
The UFC has announced
that Story will fight Nate Marquardt in the main event of its June 26 show on Versus. Story is filling in for the injured Anthony Johnson, who had previously been slated to take on Marquardt.
Johnson's manager told Ariel Helwani that Johnson suffered a rotator cuff contusion in his right shoulder in training. Johnson had only 20-30% mobility in the shoulder and was told that he'll need two or three weeks off, which would be cutting it too close for him to fight.
Story vs. Marquardt is a very significant fight in the UFC's welterweight division. Marquardt is moving down to 170 pounds after spending most of his career at middleweight, and to get a Top 10 opponent like Story in his first fight at the new weight class will be a very good test of how effective the slimmed-down Marquardt can be.
For Story, the fight represents a turnaround of just four weeks, but he's used to it by now: Story is one of the UFC's most active fighters, having fought four times in 2010. The Marquardt fight will represent Story's sixth fight in less than 18 months.
The Marquardt fight will also be Story's first main event, and a major opportunity for him to clearly establish himself as one of the UFC's up-and-coming young stars. Story is currently on a six-fight winning streak, and at age 26 he's rapidly moving up the ladder toward title contention. The Marquardt fight is his biggest opportunity to date.