MENU
#Conor McGregor #Cris Cyborg #UFC 211 #Nate Diaz #Bellator 179 #Rory MacDonald #Angela Magana #Paul Daley #Jon Jones #UFC 202


Most of us have seen dozens of war movies, and have casually referred to a sporting event as a battle.

Brian Stann, who is an honest-to-goodness war hero and a professional fighter on the highest level, would never do such a thing.

Stann understands the vast gulf between true combat and what happens for 15 minutes inside a locked cage.

The ex-Marine Corps captain, who meets Michael Bisping in a three-round middleweight bout on the main card of UFC 152 Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, won a Silver Star in 2006 for extraordinary heroism in Iraq.

On his official UFC biography, he lists his heroes as Lance Cpl. James Brown, Lance Cpl. William Koprince, Lance Cpl. Rene Martinez and Lance Cpl. Douglas Champlin. All were Marines who died in Iraq while fighting under his command.

Stann became an iconic figure in mixed martial arts almost from the day he signed his first contract with World Extreme Cagefighting. His tales of the atrocities of the war in Iraq were riveting, and could easily be turned into a best-selling book or full-length movie.

But Stann decided earlier this year to end all discussion of active combat during interviews.

"Those are very difficult memories for me and I don't want to keep reliving them," Stann said. "And as time has gone on, reporters have pressed for more and greater detail of things that happened in battle. I would prefer not to bring up those memories all the time."

[Also: Vitor Belfort jumped at chance to face another phenom in Jon Jones]

He should forever be revered and lauded for his service to his country and his bravery, loyalty and dedication to his men.

But his choice to put that part of his life behind him is the correct one, for a number of reasons.

He's now 31 and 12-4 as a professional fighter, including 6-3 in the UFC. He's had a few quality wins – his knockouts of Chris Leben at UFC 125 and Jorge Santiago at UFC 130 established him as a middleweight contender – but he has yet to beat a guy who is at or near the top of the division.

Both times he got the opportunity, he was badly beaten by a wrestler. He was routed by Phil Davis in a light heavyweight match at UFC 109 in 2010. At UFC 136 last year, he was submitted by Chael Sonnen after being outwrestled for most of the fight.

He's at a crossroads in his career as a fighter. He needs to beat Bisping to send a signal that he's a legitimate contender. Bisping is the highest-rated fighter he's faced, and there's a good chance that the winner of the Bisping-Stann bout would meet the winner of the UFC 155 match between Chris Weidman and Tim Boetsch to determine the division's No. 1 contender.

It's an important bout and Stann knows it. Beating Bisping means something.

"He's a guy ranked ahead of me and that's the kind of fight I've been hoping to get," Stann said.

[Also: Dana White's breakneck lifestyle not going to stop anytime soon, health be damned]

An injured shoulder forced Stann to pull out of a scheduled Aug. 4 bout in Los Angeles against Hector Lombard, who at the time had been unbeaten in 25 fights. When he healed, Stann was matched with Bisping, who is coming off a loss in his last outing, yet it's still a more significant fight.

The colorful Bisping, who has almost carried the promotion of UFC 152 on his back with his clever interviews and frequently outrageous lines, is one of the most underrated fighters in the world.

Sonnen raves about his toughness and regularly refers to Bisping as the toughest man he's met. Bisping is 22-4 and his second-round knockout loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 100 is the only clear-cut defeat of his career. His losses to Rashad Evans at UFC 78 (split decision), Wanderlei Silva at UFC 110 (unanimous decision) and Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2 (unanimous decision) were all razor-thin bouts that could have gone either way.

A win over Bisping would clearly make Stann a leading contender for a middleweight title shot.

Getting to that level would have a further benefit for Stann: It would put more of the focus on his MMA and off his military career.

Stann will be a Marine until the day he dies, but he's only going to be a fighter for a short while.

There will be a time when, perhaps, Stann will choose to share his story with the world. Until he does, though, it's only fair to evaluate him strictly on his MMA.

Stann knows better than pretty much anyone what a real battle is all about.

In the sporting sense, however, Saturday will be a battle. And Stann needs to earn his stripes in this one.

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Fantasy: Pickups of the Week
NBC’s ‘Revolution’ revokes Cubs’ 2012 World Series championship
Metta World Peace has shocking goal for Lakers
Y! Shopping: The top-rated types of beautiful bacon

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Former UFC owners turned down $5 billion buyout offer, per Dana White

  • 28 days ago
  • 277 views

The UFC sold this past July for about $4 billion, or $3.775 billion and a quarter-billion in earn-outs, if you want to get technical. But when the promotion's former owners were considering which buy read news >>

Fight Nights Global officials 'very disappointed' in Falcao stoppage, want better safety standards

  • 27 days ago
  • 45 views

Following an incredibly late stoppage at this past weekend’s Fight Nights Global 63 event in Russia, promotion officials have declared there was an “obvious” referee error and pledged to press for be read news >>

UFC's 'Cyborg' vents at UFC and Brian Stann after he says she's 'difficult'

  • 27 days ago
  • 40 views

Cristiane Justino is again unhappy with her promoter. Filed under: Featured read news >>

Bas Rutten: Maurice Smith's UFC Hall of Fame inclusion is 'freaking awesome'

  • 27 days ago
  • 10 views

This past weekend, UFC officials announced that Maurice Smith will be inducted into the promotion’s hall of fame this summer, and there were some mixed reactions among fans. Not so much with fellow U read news >>

Episode No. 2 recap: 'The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption'

  • 27 days ago
  • 71 views

“The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” brings together past cast members looking for another chance at greatness. Check out a recap of the action from Episode No. 2.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko Was Perfect. Now What? | FIGHTLAND

  • 22 days ago
  • 8 views

Photos by Esther Lin/SHOWTIME Forget about the IBF heavyweight title Anthony Joshua retained with his thrilling technical-knockout victory over Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night in London. Ignore read news >>

Fertitta brothers use UFC sale money to form investment firm

  • 22 days ago
  • 43 views

Buoyed by the $4 billion sale of the UFC this past July, the Fertitta brothers are getting into the investment game. The Wall Street Journal today reported Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta have formed Fert read news >>

With initial challenge scratched, Bryan Barberena aiming for ranked opponent next time out

  • 21 days ago
  • 9 views

At 3-1 in his past four fights, including a first-round stoppage of Joe Proctor at this past month’s UFC Fight Night 108, Bryan Barberena is looking for a ranked opponent his next time out.Filed unde read news >>

UFC 211's Jessica Andrade talks past ties with champ Jedrzejczyk, recalls shared training session

  • 16 days ago
  • 16 views

RIO DE JANEIRO – Having once shared a manager with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Andrade said she used gloves given to her by the champ to train for their UFC 211 title appointment on Saturday.Filed un read news >>

Forget flashy cars and fancy clothes, UFC 211's Jessica Andrade is all about giving back

  • 14 days ago
  • 7 views

UFC 211’s Jessica Andrade came from humble beginnings in rural Brazil. Now, as her chance to conquer octagon gold approaches, she wants to help out those who helped her get this far.Filed under: Feat read news >>