The term hero may get tossed around a lot, but very few exemplify that term better that UFC middleweight Brian Stann.
Fighting on Memorial Day weekend, the former Marine who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, felt like it was his honor to fight this weekend during UFC 130. He made the most of it, dispatching of former Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago in the 2nd round of their fight Saturday night.
Since training with coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, Stann has shown steady improvement in every fight, but since cutting down to 185lbs the former WEC champion has looked like a completely different animal.
In his early days, Stann was all about power, but now he’s about technique with which to deliver that power and he did so with amazing accuracy against Santiago.
Stann dropped Santiago in the first round with a thunderous left hook that dropped the Brazilian to the mat, and as he rushed in for the finish, it looked like it might be all over. To Santiago’s credit he persevered and made it to the end of the round, but he was only minutes away from his demise.
Aggressive again in the 2nd round, Stann showed off all the striking prowess he’s gained working with training partners like BAMMA champion Tom ‘Kong’ Watson, and again flattened Santiago with a big strike.
This time it was all she wrote for the former Sengoku champ.
Stann followed up with a few more well placed strikes and the referee rushed in for the save, giving the former Marine not only the biggest win of his career, but a win that he could dedicate to all those who serve in the military across the world.
“I use this as a symbol. All you families that have lost someone out there in combat, this weekend is all about you. Please everybody, take some time this weekend, remember what it’s all about and thank those who sacrificed all for our freedoms so we could do this great sport,” Stann said eloquently after the win.
A true sportsman and role model for MMA, Stann paid respect to his opponent who took the fight with him, and who he still believes has a championship future ahead.
“I’m ecstatic. Jorge Santiago’s a true champion,” Stann said. “It’s tough to transition right from Japan over here, he’s going to make a legit shot at this title, I’m just so grateful he gave me the honor to fight him. It was a huge move for me.”
With three wins now at middleweight, Stann has established himself as a tough test for anyone at 185lbs and with the victory over Santiago likely earned him a place among the top ten for the division.