Former WEC light heavyweight champion and UFC middleweight contender Brian Stann has retired from mixed martial arts at 32 years of age.
Stann (12-6) made his professional mixed martial arts debut on Jan. 6, 2006, after a decorated career in the United States Armed Forces. Born on Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, Japan, in 1980, Stann grew up in Scranton, Penn. Upon graduation from high school, he enrolled in the United States Naval Academy and began his military career.
After graduation from the academy, he was assigned as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. As a Lieutenant, Stann was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, and commanded the 2nd Mobile Assault Platoon. During Operation Matador, Stann’s unit was ambushed near Karabilah, Iraq. Under his command, the unit held out for six days under heavy attack. All 42 Marines survived the attack. He was awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award for valor in combat, for his heroism.
Stann’s calm under duress served him well in the military and carried over to his fighting career.
He left active duty in 2008 with the rank of Captain. He was the commanding officer in the 8th Marine Regiment Headquarters Company, while competing in the WEC.
Just prior to leaving active duty as a Marine, Stann defeated Doug Marshall by knockout on March 26, 2008, to capture the WEC light heavyweight title.
He was defeated in his next outing by Steve Cantwell in a rematch.
After starting his fighting career with six consecutive victories and winning the WEC title, the organization was folded over into the UFC after it was purchased by UFC parent company Zuffa LLC.
Coming off a loss to Cantwell, Stann was defeated in his UFC debut by Krzysztof Soszynski. He avenged the previous loss to Cantwell in his next outing and put together back-to-back wins with a decision over Rodney Wallace.
At UFC 109, Stann would fight for the final time as a light heavyweight, losing to Phil Davis by decision, before dropping down to the middleweight division.
He won his first three fights in the 185-pound weight class with wins over Mike Massenzio, Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago. The win streak moved him into contender status.
In his next outing, Stann faced Chael Sonnen and was defeated in a one-sided fight. He rebounded with a knockout of Alessio Sakara in April 2012. At UFC 152, Stann was defeated in a closely contested bout with Michael Bisping.
He was then lined up against former Pride FC champion and MMA legend Wanderlei Silva. The fight would end up being his last.
Stann was ahead on the scorecards and seemed to be in complete control of the fight until an exchange late in the second round. Silva clipped him and finished the former WEC titleholder with strikes on the ground.
Stann may be be done fighting, but he’s a staple as a commentator and analyst on various UFC related programs on the Fox Networks. On Wednesday, Fox announced that Stann would be part of its ACC football coverage on Fox Sports South. He played middle linebacker while at the Naval Academy.
From military hero to mixed marital arts champion, Stann has left a lasting legacy for both the American people and fight fans.