‘All-American’ a Classic Case of Hard Work Paying Off

By Jason Probst May 31, 2011

When he debuted in the WEC in 2007, Brian Stann (Pictured) was decidedly a work in progress, but his background and story seemed straight of out of a screenwriter’s vivid imagination.

With his wins over Chris Leben at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day and Jorge Santiago at UFC 130 on Saturday, he is now on the cusp of being a top middleweight contender.

With his Naval Academy and Marine Corps storyline, including a Silver Star awarded for battlefield heroics in Iraq, he was precisely the kind of feel-good story the fledgling WEC promotion needed.

He was also matched somewhat easily, reeling off a string of wins and capturing the WEC belt against Doug Marshall in 2008.

Decimated in a rematch against an improved Steve Cantwell at WEC 35, Stann looked terribly lost against a fighter he had taken out in 41 seconds a year earlier. Cantwell had significantly upped his game. Stann had not.

Stann’s debut in the UFC was equally rough, as he was dominated and submitted by Krzysztof Soszynski. He took a pair of wins, including a rubber match decision over Cantwell, before losing via decision to the talented and undefeated Phil Davis at UFC 109. Dropping to 185 pounds has been hugely beneficial for him, and so has the time he has spent training under Greg Jackson.

His patience and ability to stay composed in a tough fight with Santiago were miles improved from the earlier versions of Stann we had seen. Ironically, the challenge with most talented fighters is building a storyline around them.

Fans have been sold the same stories time and again. Stann’s problem was the reverse, but now that he has elevated his game to a different level, that marketability carries serious weight.

It is also a nice reminder that time and effort equal results and not to close the book on a fighter after a bad showing, especially if he is willing to put in the work to improve his game.
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