According to Rick Story, Chael Sonnen showed the world how to beat Nate Marquardt. | Photo: Dave Mandel

Rick Story expects to be in great shape for his UFC Live 4 bout against Nate Marquardt if for no other reason than he hasn’t had a chance to get out of shape.

The June 26 fight will come less than a month after his UFC 130 win over Thiago Alves.

“I never had the opportunity to get out of shape,” Story said recently during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “I’m just throwing in a few things for a new game plan and I’ve had more than enough time to get that game plan good. I’m ready to go.”

By beating Alves, a former title challenger, Story moved up the ranks in the UFC’s welterweight division. The victory was his sixth straight, and he came out of the fight wanting to ride the momentum.

“After the fight with Alves, we got a hold of [UFC matchmaker Joe Silva] pretty quickly,” he said. “My coach, Pat White, he does all the legwork for me. We talked it over. I wanted to fight as soon as possible. I wasn’t necessarily expecting a fight in like three weeks or three and a half weeks, but we requested a fight quickly.”

Marquardt had been scheduled to fight Anthony Johnson. When Johnson withdrew earlier this month due to an injury, though, Story stepped up on short notice.

“I want every fight that I can get that obviously will get me closer to that title, but then again, I love fighting,” Story explained. “It’s fun. You throw a challenge at me, I’m going to step up to it.”

The bout marks Marquardt’s drop from 185 pounds to 170. Story thinks that move could be a factor in the fight.

“I’m sure in his mind it probably wouldn’t change his game,” Story said, “but if he hasn’t been down to the 170-pound class in a long time, there’s going to be some thoughts going through his head on how he’s feeling during the fight.”

As for what it will take to beat Marquardt, he points to the strategy Chael Sonnen used in February 2010.

“If you watch his fight with Chael Sonnen, it’s pretty evident,” Story said. “He doesn’t have exceptional takedown defense, but he’s exceptional off his back. [It’s going to take] ground-and-pound and a high pace and you name it. In that Chael Sonnen fight, Chael went in that fight with a great game plan that worked for him. It showed a weakness in Marquardt’s game.”

With wins over Alves, Dustin Hazelett and Johny Hendricks, an additional victory over Marquardt could position Story very close to a title shot. He believes finishing Marquardt would help his chances.

“I think that it depends on how the fight ends up,” Story said. “If it’s another decision, it’s not as much a priority. But if I end up finishing Nate, I think that puts me closer to that title shot. I don’t know if it would be more deserving than either B.J. Penn or Jon Fitch, but I’m sure a lot of people would like to see me challenge St. Pierre or Diaz.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:00:31).

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