by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Brian Stann entered the cage at World Extreme Cagefighting 33 determined and with one goal in mind: to take the title away from Doug Marshall. Many odds makers and fans alike thought that Stann wasn’t experienced enough to dethrone an experienced fighter like Doug Marshall. However, few have dealt with the kind of pressures that Brian Stann has.
Stann ended up only needing 1:35 to end Doug Marshall’s title reign and to become the new WEC light heavyweight champion. MMAWeekly spoke to Brian Stann a few days after his victory to discuss the fight and how it feels to be the champion. “It feels great”, he exclaimed. “I finally got home on Saturday and I got to spend time with my family and that’s when it really started to sink in.”
Early in the fight, the reach advantage was evident as Stann kept Marshall at bay by establishing his jab. Since Stann had known Marshall for some time, he knew he would have a good size advantage on him. “I met him before a couple of times and I knew that there was going to be a decent size advantage.”
The final exchange of the fight, Marshall seemed to have found some range and unloaded a strong combination against the challenger, with some of the punches getting through. However, Stann didn’t back down. While Marshall was throwing some wide punches, Stann unloaded a counter left hook that dropped Marshall. “The whole punch was coming into him with the height advantage,” recalled Stann. “I kind of reacted a little too quick, thinking the fight was over. But I knew I caught him solid, because I felt it in my arm and shoulder that I caught him solid.”
The punches that Marshall landed in the exchange looked like it hurt the Silver Star recipient, but he claims it didn’t. “If you watch the fight in slo-mo, one left hook got in clear and one other left hook just skinned off my hand. I was not rocked at all. He was throwing hard, I could tell you that much. My forearms and hands were feeling it after the fight. Doug brings it. My hat’s off to him.”
Most fighters will tell you that fights are won and lost in the gym. The grueling training that most of these fighters go through is far worse than what actually occurs in the cage. At least, that’s the way Brian feels. “Being real honest, I told some people before the fight, that I just felt that the quality of training and how much I improved since my last fight, that if I performed to the best of my abilities, the fight wasn’t going to be as good a fight as everyone thought it was supposed to be. I expected to dominate the fight, but I didn’t expect the fight to be that short because Doug is such a tough guy. He can put people in trouble in a lot of different ways. I just thought that I had won that fight weeks before I stepped into the cage.”
There are very few, if any, fighters that bring the kind of life experience that Stann has brought into his mixed martial arts career. When he steps into the cage for a fight, he doesn’t just feel the pressure of the task at hand, but also the hopes and support of the Marine Corps and the military. “There are a lot of guys in the Marine Corps and the military in general that support my career. It was kind of a lot of emotional events leading up to that point. Everything I have been fighting for to bring recognition to, you know, sacrifices that so many of my comrades and that’s really why it was so emotional. One of my best friends that died in Iraq actually bought a Harley Davidson before he left that April before he left for deployment. I talked to his mom the day after the fight, and as soon as she saw the Harley Davidson emblem in the center of the cage, she knew her son was with me. Things like that and people like that, I go into the cage with a lot more than a game plan and my recognitions on my mind. I won that for a lot more than me.”