This weekend at UFC 136, UFC middleweight contender Brian Stann faces his biggest test in his MMA career when he takes on former title challenger Chael Sonnen. MMA Nation spoke with Brian Stann along the rest of the media after today's UFC 136 workouts. The former Marine Corps captain spoke about a variety of topics including what it means for him to be fighting for a potential title shot.
"I think people are underestimating me," Stann contended. "I'm a difficult guy to wrestle to the ground. I'm also a difficult guy to hold on the ground. Chael's the best at doing those things so we're gonna find out quickly. People forget that I train with the best guys in the world. Obviously, I wouldn't be confident if I was losing every single second of every day at the gym. I'm training with a lot of good guys and having success there. I feel good coming in here."
Stann understands his wrestling is a major question mark, but is confident his knockout power will be the great equalizer. As he explains, "the other thing I know with my heart is that any of my punches or kicks can completely turn a fight around. I don't care if I lose 14:55 seconds of the fight, I still have five seconds to knock him out and finish him. That's gonna be my mind set going in. I'm gonna focus on what I'm gonna do to him."
Stann also understands one his biggest assets is his experience against southpaw fighters. Sonnen is one of the best southpaws and possesses a shot that may seem a bit odd for those who haven't gotten many looks against left-handed fighters. "Fortunately for me I fought [Chris] Leben who is a lefty, [Mike] Massenzio is a lefty, Kryzstof [Soszynski] is a lefty, and my first ever fight Aaron Stark is a lefty and both of my coaches are lefties, so I actually love fighting lefties," Stann told the media. "I feel very comfortable in there striking with lefties, defending shots from lefties...If I could fight Phil Davis again, I'd probably switch stances and fight him lefty."
Speaking of his humble beginnings in the WEC, Stann was extremely candid about the improvements he's had to make in his career to go from a power puncher to an all-around fighter. He's cognizant people still see him as a a limited fighter. But to hear Stann tell it, he's made numerous adjustments and improvements to become a top middleweight.
"I've had to add skills from everywhere," Stann insisted. "Early in my career I just didn't have any of the knowledge available to me. I've been so fortunate to be in a situation where not just my coaches but my training partners."
"Keith Jardine came into the gym to help me. He didn't have to do that. He has his own career to worry about. Joey Villesenor did that. Tim Kennedy came in and did the same thing. Jon Jones took time out of his championship training camp to help me," said Stann.
"That's an environment where guys grow. I'm a product of not just my coaches, but the people around me. And like anything in life, when you surround yourself with good people, good things happen. And I've been very fortunate."