by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Brian Stann is quickly becoming a very popular figure in mixed martial arts. He has accomplished more as a person at the age of 26, than some people do in their entire lifetime. He has led the 2nd Mobile Assault Platoon in Iraq and was awarded the Silver Star, which is the third highest honor in the military. As if that weren’t enough, he’s an excellent athlete and is undefeated in four professional fight.
On Wednesday night, Stann will take on a Mid West fighter in Jeremiah Billington coming into this fight with an impressive 9-1 record. MMAWeekly caught up with Brian to see how things were going for the fight. “Things are going well. It was short notice. It kind of all evolved at the last UFC event,” Stann explained. “I feel ready to go. It’s a fight. It’s just that. I don’t take a lot of time off between fights. Usually just a week for injuries.”
Stann has been quite the popular person lately, with even high profile media such as MTV writing an expose on him. With all of the notoriety, things have changed for the current North Carolina native. “Whatever base I go to now recognizes me cause they love the sport, number one, and when they see one of their own doing it — Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, they are really proud to see one of their own doing it.”
Within the last few months, fighters such as Kenny Florian and Heath Herring traveled to Afghanistan and Tito Ortiz have made the trip over to Iraq to support the troops. Stann shed some light on how actions like that boost morale. “It means a lot to the troops. For me, when I see those guys doing that, I appreciate it. It lifts a lot of spirits.”
One of the most impressive things about Brian Stann isn’t just his fighting ability, but his humble nature in general. In fact, Stann didn’t even want to mention anything to the media because he didn’t want any special attention. “At first, I was very hesitant to do any media because I just wanted to fight. Actually, it was my superior officers in the Marine Corps that really wanted me to go out and do all the media because they felt it shed a very positive light not only on the Marine Corps, but what these young kids are doing over there. I use it more as a representation of the Marine Corps, not my story.”
Stann went out and trained at Team Quest for this fight. “I was able to train with Dan Henderson, Jason Miller, Thierry Sokodjou which was really great because they treated me with open arms.” With a solid foundation to build on, training with elite athletes like the aforementioned fighters can only help him become a more complete mixed martial artist.
Brian believes that the key to being a great fighter, is being a smart fighter. “I think the more intelligent the fighter, the better he can execute his game plan. I really think Randy Couture showcased that this past weekend. Talk about a guy who’s really smart and can figure out what he’s really gonna to do win this fight.” Stann has a good idea of what Billington wants to do in this fight. “I think he’s gonna try to take me down and slow the tempo of the fight.”
A key advantage Stann may possess in this fight is his experience fighting for a larger organization and in front of big crowds. While Billington may have more fights, he has never fought on a stage of this magnitude. “I think when I look at the guys he’s fought and I looked at the guys I’ve fought, it really doesn’t make a difference to me. I always overestimate my opponents. I fought way better opponents than he has. I think him, this is his first time on the big stage. That’s gonna be a big deal to him. For me, it’s another day at the office. I haven’t taken anything lightly. I can’t wait to get in there.”
Brian Stann may be a gentleman, but he is a very aggressive fighter in the cage. He looks to finish fights and has done so in all four of his previous fights. He has no plans of changing up anything in that regard. “I expect to come right to the center of the cage and we’re gonna go at it,” exclaimed Stann. “I don’t expect it to go to the second round. I think I’ll finish him in the first round. This will not go to decision. I’m gonna win by KO or TKO.”