This Saturday night at UFC 136, Brian Stann enters the octagon against his toughest opponent to date, former UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen.
A former Marine, Stann shows no fear when he stands across from his opponent, a man who is looking to beat him into submission or stoppage. Having been put in tough situation and extreme circumstances during his time in the military, Stann describes a fight as, “a game of pick up basketball.”
In his latest blog for FoxSports.com, Stann says, “I’ve never feared a fighter or a fight, and have only ever been concerned with whether I was truly good enough to get to the places I want to reach in this great sport of mixed martial arts.” Against Sonnen, “All American” will get to test his skills against the man who gave UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva the toughest fight of his UFC career, coming within two minutes of capturing belt before falling victim to a triangle choke.
Undefeated in three middleweight bouts, Stann has been working a full-time job throughout his entire MMA career. That has changed while preparing for his showdown with Sonnen. “I’m no longer running out of the cage after practice to multiple conference calls and meetings. I’ve got people around me who can help me lead the charity organization that I run, Hire Heroes USA, which helps US veterans find employment after discharge, and I’ve stopped doing my corporate real estate job — and it’s been tremendous.”
Now spending all of his moments focusing on MMA, Stann says, “I now have more time to watch films of my opponent, do one-on-one sessions with my coaches, recover more, train more and just immerse myself in the lifestyle of a professional fighter. Rather than try and cram a 30-hour workday into 24 hours, I now enjoy a far more manageable schedule and I can really focus on being a professional athlete, preparing the right meals and living the right life.”
With his newfound time, Stann has found that spending all day in the gym might not be such a good thing for his body, saying, “My coaches get upset with me from time to time and are often trying to kick me out of the gym. I sometimes get into that dangerous cycle of getting tired and thinking it is best to train even harder, rather than allow my body to recover.”
When he steps into the cage on October 8, the former WEC light heavyweight champion won’t be looking as his battle with Sonnen as a matter of “life or death.” To him, “professional fighting is just an athletic competition. It is a game.” He continued with, “What’s the worst that can happen in a fight? You might get beaten, stopped, knocked out or submitted. I’ve been through all that already.”
While he promises no victory on Saturday, he does promise that, “I will fight to the absolute best of my ability — which is actually all we can control in there.
“We cannot control what our opponent does, only our own actions,” said Stann. “Stepping into the Octagon with doubts or concerns about the fight or your opponent will only hold you back and prevent you from being the best fighter you can be at that moment. It really isn’t about who the best fighter is, it is about who fights best in that moment. Knowing that keeps me focused on exactly what I need to do to win my fight.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC*