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Stann ready for rubber match

Story by Brady Crytzer
Photo by Chris Cozzone

Former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Brian Stann is fighting Steve Cantwell for a third time. While their first bout was to make a name in the light heavyweight division, and their second to contest a world title, Stann is well aware that the rubber match may be the most vital to his career yet.

To set the record straight each man is 1-1 in the series. As part of the Ultimate Fight Night set for SpikeTV on September 16th, Stann is set to prove that more has changed in the re-rematch than just the shape of the cage.

“Last time we fought it was for a title,” Stann said. “It’s a big difference this time. We are both looking to get back on top and climb that ladder. This isn’t a fight that Steve (Cantwell) wanted. I was his biggest win and now he has to fight me again.”

“We’ve fought twice already, there is only one reason the UFC would make a third fight. This is guaranteed excitement.”

Brian Stann has had great success in his short professional career. After stopping his first six opponents, including a young hopeful named Steve Cantwell, by knockout, Stann was riding an immense wave of momentum. Following a 2008 knockout of Doug “Rhino” Marshall, Stann was officially crowned the WEC light heavyweight champion.

Unfortunately duty called, and Stann was forced to juggle life, liberty, and the pursuit of Cagefighting . . . not to mention a rematch with a much improved Steve Cantwell.

“Anyone who knows me can tell that there was something different about me,” Stann admitted. “I didn’t know much about MMA during our first fight and ignorance is bliss. Before the second fight I had just gotten out of the military. I had to move my family and find a job. I was distracted.”

Stann was stopped in the second round by Cantwell in their 2008 rematch. Shortly after the fight, the WEC announced that the light heavyweight division would be dissolved to place more focus on the lightweight, featherweight, and bantamweight classes.

With his future as a pro still up in the air, Stann decided to take up an offer from one of the sport’s most successful trainers, Greg Jackson. Before he knew it Stann was living in New Mexico and training with some of the best mixed martial artists on the planet.

“We have tons of talent in this gym,” Stann said. “Fighters like Nate Marquardt, Jon Jones, Keith Jardine, it’s a great time to be training at Jackson’s. Some of these guys are incredible. Keith fights like he can go on forever and never get tired. And Rashad, when it comes time for hard sparring, everyone fears when Rashad comes through that door.”

“I’m making big sacrifices for this fight,” Stann said. “I’ve moved away from home and I don’t get to see my family as much as I want to.”

Sacrifice is something that Stann is all too familiar with. As a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, the Scranton, PA native was awarded the Silver Star following a shootout in Western Iraq. Now away from active duty, Stann channels his success in mixed martial arts into helping his fellow comrades suffering from PTSD, more commonly known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“It’s about warriors helping warriors,” Stann said. “The martial arts are a great outlet for anybody, military or not. We work with chaplains and let the guys come in and work up and sweat and talk about what’s on their minds.”

Now a member of the UFC’s vaunted light heavyweight division, Stann is focused on making his way to the top of the sport.

“It’s the best division to be in,” Stann said. “I never needed to fight. I want to fight. I do this because I love it. It’s all about the experience and I want to retire someday knowing that I gave it my all.”


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