by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Facing adversity and extreme challenges is nothing new to World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight contender Brian Stann, who will face the biggest obstacle in his young mixed martial arts career on March 26 when he faces current 205-pound divisional champion Doug “The Rhino” Marshall in Las Vegas.
Stann, a Naval Academy graduate, had been waiting for a fight for many months when the WEC contacted him with the chance to face Marshall.
“I was supposed to fight in February and, for some reason, the guy I was supposed to fight, his camp pulled him out, so no big deal, but it’s been a longer layoff than I’m accustomed to,” he said in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “I’m excited, I can’t wait. The good thing is in between every fight I become a completely different fighter and even more so for this fight since I’ve had about six months to train.”
During his down time between fights, Stann worked primarily with Team Quest, including a trip to Big Bear, Calif., to help Dan Henderson prepare for his last fight against Anderson Silva.
While the timing seems early for Stann at this stage in his career – he currently holds a 5-0 professional record – he’s confident at his chances stepping up for a title shot.
“It has been fast, but I definitely see it as a great opportunity for me.”
The opportunity is a shot at the light heavyweight title and while many fighters could potentially fold under the pressure of a fight of this magnitude, as an active Marine that has served in Iraq, Stann has faced more pressures in his life than most would deal with in 10 lifetimes.
“You’ve just got to put everything else aside. Yes, it’s a fight, and yes, it’s for a title, and Doug’s a good fighter, but at the end of the day no matter what happens in that cage, what’s the worst that’s going to happen to me? Maybe a broken nose, a concussion? In the big picture it’s nothing,” Stann said about his perspective going into the fight. “My family’s still healthy, I’m still healthy, and God willing me and Doug walk out of the cage unhurt on a serious scale, so I just don’t see, there’s not a lot really you’ve got to get worked up for.”
He has been a force in all of his fights with none of them making it out of the first round, but he is still very confident in his conditioning going into the fight.
“We definitely changed a lot of things up for a five-round fight and there is no way that my opponent will be in the condition that I’m in for this fight.”
Many have predicted that the fight between Stann and Marshall will be a slugfest with the first fighter to catch the right punch or kick putting an end to the fight early and the Pennsylvania native is confident in his chances.
“I don’t think he’s as technical a striker as I am, and I don’t think he’s as athletic,” Stann stated. “He’ll gas out a lot quicker than I do, from there, I’ll try to finish the fight. He’s a great champ. I don’t want to take anything away; he’s a great champion. He’s won the belt, and he’s defended the belt, which is something I have not done.”
On March 26, he will get his chance to stand and bang with Marshall and he’s ready to bring the same aggressive nature to this fight as he has in every fight he’s faced so far.
“He’s going to be a handful. He wants to be in there. He wants to slug. He’s going to move forward, and I’m excited for it. I love it,” said Stann simply. “If you want to come forward on me, then absolutely come forward, and don’t expect me to move back.”