It'll be a quick turnaround for Rick Story. Fortunately, it'll also be the big name opportunity he's been asking for.
Fresh off his win over Thiago Alves at UFC 130, Story will step in for an injured Anthony Johnson to face Nate Marquardt in the main event of UFC Live on Versus in Pittsburgh on June 26, UFC officials confirmed on Thursday.
NBC Sports' Ariel Helwani reports that Johnson injured his right shoulder in training, but will not needs surgery. Manager Glenn Robinson says the injury is a "rotator cuff contusion" that left Johnson with just "20-30 percent mobility" in the shoulder, according to Helwani. Though Johnson still wanted to fight, doctors say he'll need to rest it for the next two to three weeks.
Story takes over with just under a month's notice. He's currently riding a six-fight win streak in the UFC, capped by his unanimous decision over former No. 1 contender Alves in Las Vegas last weekend. In the wake of the victory, Story had asked for a bout with John Fitch, but Fitch declined.
Now Story gets his wish for a stiff test against a fighter long regarded as one of the UFC's all-around best. A perennial contender at 185-pounds, Marquardt will be making his welterweight debut after going 2-2 in his last four bouts.
There is no timetable yet for Johnson's return.
UFC Live 4 will air on Versus on Sunday, June 26.