Emerging welterweight contender Rick Story is no easy match-up for anyone in the UFC’s 170-pound division. On Oct. 4 at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, Story became the first man to defeat Gunnar Nelson inside the cage and the win reaffirmed his status in the welterweight landscape.
The Washington native lost his UFC debut at UFC 99 in 2009 via unanimous decision. He then reeled off six-consecutive wins before losing back-to-back fights in 2011. For the next two years, Story alternated between wins and losses. Outside of being submitted by Demian Maia at UFC 153, Story’s other losses were of the split-decision variety.
His UFC Fight Night 53 split-decision win over Nelson put Story on a two-fight winning streak, but he could easily be sporting five consecutive wins had those other split decisions gone his way. When the scorecards were being read in Stockholm, Story couldn’t help but think back to the fights that he was on the losing side of judges’ scorecards.
“When I first heard it (was a split decision) I was shocked. What first ran through my mind was: Mike Pyle and Kelvin Gastelum. The Mike Pyle fight, I thought I won, but I didn’t. The Gastelum fight, that was very close. I’m happy with what happened in that fight and happy with my performance, but in my head, it shouldn’t have been a rocky road. I should be on a five-fight winning streak right now,” said the 30-year-old during the UFC Fight Night 53 post-fight press conference.
Through the wins and losses, Story has kept his mind focused on his long-term goal of fighting for a world championship.
“The last couple of years, after my losses, it seemed like the next fight was always the next fight that was going to be the run for the title. But I really do think that I’m at the right place and I have the motivation to go win. There’s no sense in training in this sport and fighting at this level if we’re not going for the world champion. My goal is to be the world champion and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get there,” he said.
Now that he’s clawed his way back into the top fifteen rankings, Story knows he can’t have any more setbacks if he’s going to make a run at UFC gold currently around Johny Hendricks‘ waist.
“At this point, every performance is going to be one of the most important of my career. Trying to get up to the title shot, you can’t take any bumps in the road. I can’t take any more loses. I’ve lost too many times, and it’s hard every single time. It’s just easier to win,” said “The Horror” Story.