Brian Stann on Anderson & Wanderlei, His Rise And More

Former war hero sounds off on multiple subjects

Brian Stann will face Chael Sonnen at UFC 136 in Houston. A win over Sonnen would likely put Stann in the one position every single fighter wants to assume: in the driver’s seat for a title shot.

Stann joined the set of HeavyMMA’s Fight Day pre-show last Saturday to discuss his rise in the middleweight division, Wanderlei Silva, facing Anderson Silva and much more. Check out Stann’s comments below.


For me, it’s more about my skill set and my ability to fight the big fights. When you’re a fighter in the UFC, you don’t just want to exist. You want to fight the best. You want a skill set and a performance that dictates your ability to do so. I’m really pleased with that and I’m glad the UFC is giving me tough match-ups.


I met Greg when the UFC was in Atlanta. That was right after I lost my title to Steve Cantwell. He told me that there were a lot of areas where he could help me and that he would love for me to come down to the gym. So I went down there to try it out, and after the first week [Keith] Jardine and [Joey] Villasenor came up to me and told me that I really belonged here. And I felt like I belonged there.

It’s an environment where you don’t just have one or two coaches. It’s not just Greg Jackson or Mike Winkeljohn. Every fighter that trains there is another coach for you. So every time I would get beat during training, the fighter I was training with would stop and tell me what I was doing wrong. And that’s what allowed me to progress from being just a raw guy who could throw punches to being an actual mixed martial artist in three years.


I have a couple more fights regardless of what I think. I have no issues fighting anyone in the middleweight division right now. To turn down a title fight is just ridiculous at this level. Everybody has a shot to win, especially when the champion is a guy like Anderson Silva who likes to stand and bang. You’re always going to have a puncher’s chance. But I know I’m going to have to fight a few times before I get that shot, and I’m going to have to fight two, or maybe even three, really good guys. That’s what I’m focused on right now.


I don’t mind being called out. I think it’s what they should do. You as a fighter need to take control of your career. There are times after your fight that you need to evaluate the landscape, to look out there and see who is not matched up yet. You always want to be fighting up. That’s what I did when I asked for Chris Leben. That’s what I did when I asked for Wanderlei Silva. That’s why I got lucky when I didn’t know who they were going to match me up with, and I got Jorge Santiago. Leben and Santiago were both well above me in the rankings, and that’s what you want as a fighter. If you’re fighting up, you have more to gain and less to lose.


Wanderlei Silva is a legend. He’s at that point where he can fight whoever he wants. When you get to a point in your career where you’ve won 30 or 40 fights, where you’ve won multiple world titles, you’re really looking for matchups that excite you. And at the end of the day, I think a match-up with a guy like Chris Leben just excited him more. He has earned that right. He’s earned that status. Whether it had anything to do with anyone booing him or not? I’m not sure. But in addition to the match-up not being that exciting to him, I think his injury timeline didn’t work. He didn’t know if he could be ready for Memorial Day weekend, which is when I wanted to fight. It was really personal to me. And Wanderlei didn’t want to say yes to Memorial Day and then have to push it back to July because he didn’t know if his knee would be ready.


Fighting Anderson Silva would be a dream come true. Anybody who does not want to fight the champion is really in the wrong sport. So if I were to get the opportunity to be lucky enough to fight Anderson in the UFC, it would be a very difficult match-up. It’s a fight where I would really have to improve my footwork. I’d have to show him a couple of different looks in the stand-up game. He’s not the kind of guy that is going to come in and try to take me down. He will try and strike with me, and he has some of the fastest hands I’ve ever seen in the sport. He has the best hand/eye coordination that we’ve ever seen in mixed martial arts. I would have to use lots of head movement and I would have to fight him lefty and righty. I would have to shoot for takedowns and really mix things up so that he couldn’t get used to me an implement his game plan.


I’ll tell you what: if someone kicks me like that, the chances are much higher of them breaking their foot than me getting hurt. It’s not just my jaw – it’s my whole head. I’m in the Tito Ortiz category.