After Stunning UFC 125 Knockout, Stann Ready To Face Wanderlei

photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa

“All American” ready for more big challenges

LAS VEGAS – Brian Stann did the impossible at UFC 125: he knocked out Chris Leben in the first round.

It’s a feat only accomplished by one other person – reigning UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva – and Leben’s career has been defined by his iron jaw and ability to take punches that would put normal men to sleep.

Stann, a bonafide American hero who is quickly becoming one of the most marketable stars on the UFC roster, tied a UFC record for most knockdowns in a round, sending Leben reeling with a combination of punches and knees. For a brief time, it appeared that Leben was going to make one of his epic comebacks, but Stann finished off the controversial star with a knee.

Stann says he was ready for Leben to survive the onslaught.

“We trained for that in my sparring. Guys would pretend to be hurt and then come back, so I had to be disciplined. We trained for that every single day,” Stann told after the fight. “I mean, it’s Chris Leben. You could hit him with a nuclear warhead and the guy would still come back.”

Stann also believed the fight could have gone either way.

“Well, gosh, I guess it was going to be either one of us with that first round. I know there was a point in time when we were clinched up and just hitting each other in the face, which isn’t the best way to fight Chris Leben,” Stann said. “Honestly, I think it was the body kicks. I hurt him to the body first, and I think that was the only reason I was able to get the knockout.”

Stann asked for the fight with Leben because he wanted to test his stand-up skills, but he knew going into the fight that he’d be in for a war.

“He’s the toughest guy in the UFC, in the purest sense of the word. You could look it up in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of Chris Leben,” he said. “It just so happened that tonight was my night, but it could have been either one of us. I’ll certainly take this victory with a whole lot of honor to him.”

“We thought that, despite what everybody else thinks, my coaches and training partners knew that I had this power at 185 pounds. I’ve been fighting national champ wrestlers for a year now, so people just haven’t had the chance to see it,” he continued. “We knew that there was some holes there. Chris has got an excellent ground game and we weren’t afraid to go there, but we felt like my best chance to win was to keep it standing, to use my speed to move around him and stay away from his left hand.”

Sources close to Greg Jackson’s camp say that Stann has become the unquestioned leader of a roster filled with veteran UFC and Strikeforce stars. He’s becoming a complete mixed martial artist, and his background as a Silver Star winner and true military hero will serve him well.

What’s next for the “All American?” Stann says he’s ready to face a legend.

“I’d like to fight anybody who is going to keep me progressing into the top ten. I want to fight the best. I’m not a guy who wants to fight easy fights and just wear fancy t-shirts and be popular. That’s not what I do this for. I want to fight the best, honor the men and women who serve and honor my opponents,” Stann said. “So maybe a guy like Wanderlei Silva who is someone that I’ve looked up to for years. Just like Chris, Wanderlei built this house that I fight in. I’d be honored to fight someone like Wanderlei. He’s just…man, he’s Wanderlei.”

Watch Megan Olivi interview Brian Stann after his UFC 125 victory over Chris Leben