UFC middleweight Brian Stann using FUEL TV analyst role to improve as a fighter


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brian-stann-18.jpgBrian Stann may be a little ways away from a return to the octagon, but right now that’s not something that necessarily is bothering him.

The UFC middleweight this month continues down a path that is ancillary to his fighting career when he again trades the octagon for an anchor desk.

Stann this week will return to the studio for FUEL TV’s coverage of UFC on FUEL TV 9, which takes place Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden. The broadcasting work is something Stann has been lauded for when he’s done his stints for FOX and FUEL in the past.

“There are a lot harder than talking about my favorite sport and breaking it down and being around people I have a great deal of respect for,” Stann on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “If that’s something that I can be of service to do, I really hope that could be part of my career path. But ultimately, there’s a big part of that that’s out of my control. I can do the best job I can, but there’s networks and the UFC. We’re all smart about not putting all our eggs in one basket. As much as I love to do it, I won’t count my chickens before they’re hatched.”

Still, FOX and the UFC wanting Stann back on a regular basis is a fairly solid indicator of the level of work he’s doing on the desk. As part of FUEL’s pre- and post-fight shows, Stann, along with other fighters and anchors like Jay Glazer, help break down the fights before they happen and analyze them afterward.

It’s the inclusion of those shows on FUEL TV, which started in 2012 with the official start of the UFC’s deal with FOX, that Stann believes are helping fans understand MMA even more.

“It’s very important that we do things like the pre-fight show and post-fight show,” he said. “It just makes the sport more professional and it educates more fans and we can get fans to really know more about the technical aspect of the sport. So when you see certain fights, now you get it broken down for you so you understand what happens. You see in America, the American fans are getting most educated in things like wrestling, the grappling side, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, striking – they’re understanding the subtleties of the sport and just how difficult it is to be a fighter at the level of the UFC.”

Stann gives a lot of credit to FOX for helping grow the sport of MMA once its seven-year deal with the UFC got under way.

“I think they’ve done a spectacular job of promoting the sport, but even more so, showcasing who we are as a person – not just as a fighter,” Stann said. “What it does is allow fans to connect with the fighters in a very different aspect than any other professional sport. I think it’s the reason why the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts has grown worldwide so rapidly. We’re very accessible to the fans, and the fans can identify with a lot of things that we take part in on a daily basis.”

Even though he’s not currently in a fight camp – still “licking his wounds” from a UFC on FUEL TV 8 knockout loss to Wanderlei Silva a month ago – Stann said the desk work as an analyst winds up helping him and the other fighters who are called upon to be experts in the studio.

Those fellow fighters have included the likes of upcoming light heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen, former light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans, bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz, lightweight champ Benson Henderson and middleweight contender Michael Bisping.

“It helps tremendously,” Stann said. “The more fights you have to analyze and you have to process, the smarter you become as an analyst, as a fighter and a as a coach – because I do a lot of coaching, as well. You start to see different game plans be successful, or where they faltered. You start to see different kinds of athletes, and you really see an evolution of the sport.”

But even though he’s not currently able to be competitive in the octagon, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little friendly on-set competition with him and his fellow fighters.

The competitive nature of what they do for a living sometimes carries over into their studio work, as well.

“We’re all professional fighters, so there’s a lot of ego involved,” Stann said. “If one person makes a point and the other person doesn’t agree on it, you’re going to see a little back and forth on the air. But trust me – we’re so competitive that we’re breaking it down backstage before and after the show even more so with one another. So it does happen – but not in a bad way, though. And I think for the group of guys that have done it a lot, we’ve learned a lot and we’ve certainly grown together. Because when we’re out there (at the studio in Los Angeles), we’ll train together, we’ll share different thoughts, and it’s a great experience to get to know some of these guys in a better fashion and understand more about their own training and what they do. It helps advance the sport.”

And that’s something he’ll continue to use to fuel his competitive fires this month with UFC events in four consecutive weeks – at least until he’s ready to start getting back in there again, himself.

For more on UFC on FUEL TV 9, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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