This Saturday, Brian Stann will face MMA legend Wanderlei Silva at UFC on Fuel TV 8. The fight against his long-time idol in the sport, however, comes with a catch: Stann will be fighting at light heavyweight.
For Stann, who once held the WEC light heavyweight belt, middleweight has become his optimum weight. He fought his last six fights at 185 lbs, and he has faced the top-echelon of fighters. He calls this weekend’s jump back to light heavyweight, then, a “one and done” deal.
“I’m a middleweight,” Stann explains. “I could compete at light heavyweight, but if I want to be top ten and compete for the title, it needs to be at middleweight. With my style and the ways I’ve had difficulties in my career with people neutralizing me, it benefits me to be the bigger, stronger individual when people are trying to neutralize me against the cage and on the ground.”
Of course, there is an inherent challenge in moving up a weight-class. Generally speaking, fighters cut a significant amount of weight prior to the fight; and come fight night, they have rehydrated and bulked back up sometimes 20 lbs heavier than at weigh-ins. Stann remains unworried, however, as he sees not having to cut weight as an advantage.
“It’s really just a matter of not having to cut weight. I did not think it would benefit me to put on extra weight. I think speed is more important. I’ve always been strong and always been powerful even with training with much larger light heavyweights early in my career and fighting light heavyweights. I think it’s more important to be athletic and fast.”
The motivation for leaving middleweight, where Stann feels both comfortable and competitive, is a fight with his personal hero, Wanderei Silva.
“When I first thought about coming into the sport, my favorite fighter was Wanderlei Silva,” says Stann. “I would watch his fights in Pride and just marvel at the tenacity that he brought inside the ring and how he fought. Not only that, but the way he treated other people and the way he conducted himself outside of the ring… I’m very honored that I get to be his opponent… He’s done more for the sport in any two years of his career than I’ll ever do in my entire career. I’ve got to put all of that aside. I’ve got to put on my best performance to defeat him.”
You can watch Brian Stann and Wanderlei Silva headline UFC on Fuel TV 8 live from Tokyo, Japan this Saturday at 7pm/10pm PTET. Be sure to check your television listings for channel information. If you can’t view the live broadcast, be sure to check out BJPENN.com for live play-by-play updates.Tags: Brian Stann, mma, tokyo, ufc, ufc news, ufc on fuel tv 8, Wanderlei Silva