By Chris Howie
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
A former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion, Brian Stann now finds himself climbing the UFC Middleweight ladder and will attempt to secure himself a shot at middleweight Champion Anderson Silva when he faces Chael Sonnen at UFC 136 on October 8th.
Stann spoke with MMANews.com this week to discuss the upcoming fight as well as his training, his opponent, and more.
Chris Howie: Hey Brian, how are things?:
Brian Stann: Good man, in between training sessions. Training is going really well. Were in the final grind right now cutting a lot of weight.
Chris Howie: How much weight are you cutting?
Brian Stann: I never really disclose exactly how much weight I cut.
CH: Having fought in the light heavyweight division in the past, has the cut to middleweight bothered you any since the drop?
BS: No, I definitely have it down to a system. My nutritionist, George Lockhart, is the premier nutritionist in the business. He helps Kenny Florian cut down to featherweight for his fights as well. I've had people in the past tell me that I'd eventually be a middleweight but I never had any experience cutting weight. Until I started working on my diet with George I never really had any idea how easy it would be to get there (185lbs.). He helps me get there and I end up being a very large middleweight.
CH: You were running into some tough fights at 205bs in which you appeared to be undersized, from the outcomes of your last fights it appears MW was your calling. How have you felt?
BS: Well, one of the main things that helped me make the decision to drop to middleweight was the fact that I was becoming a more well-rounded fighter and felt that it was time to start fighting guys that were more my size. I wouldn't really have to cut any weight for fights and would weigh in the morning of a fight at 205lbs where other guys were cutting 20-30lbs. I'm a middleweight fighter and feel much better here. I was physically strong at light heavyweight so at middleweight I feel like I have that much more power.
CH: How do you feel about your fight with Chael Sonnen?
BS: I feel great. A lot of people might disagree with me but anytime where you get to fight a guy and you're the underdog and have nothing to lose and everything to gain you find yourself in a good position. Chael is an amazing fighter who has been doing this since I was in High School. He's an amazing wrestler. I feel after watching his last four fights that I'm going to be the most prepared guy that he has faced in a long time. I'm prepared for the things that he is great at.
CH: When Chael Sonnen fought Anderson Silva there was a lot of trash talked prior to the bout. For this fight, Chael has stayed relatively quiet and hasn't had much to say, what do you feel is the difference this time out?
BS: I think it's a respect factor. Chael and I know each other and have a common mentor in a man by the name of John Bardis who is one of my head coaches and has mentored Chael on a lot of things in his life as well. Me and Chael have spoken on occasion and in fact, two weeks prior to us getting signed to fight, Chael contacted me about two friends of his who were really struggling and needed jobs after serving in the military knowing that I run an organization that helps vets find jobs. So, I made some calls and helped him out. We were sitting at UFC 132 a couple weeks later discussing how we had a common mentor in John and then two days later we find out were finding each other. So I think everyone remembers a lot of Chael's trash talk against Silva but he isn't typically like that if you look at his other fights. He doesn't always talk trash on his opponents.
CH: I believe Sonnen is a pro wrestling fan so do you feel Chael just understands selling a fight?
BS: Absolutely. Anytime I have ever spoken to Chael he has been respectful and I have never heard of him saying anything bad about me. I don't have any facts and it's just speculation but I think a lot of what he says and does is entertainment value.
CH: This is an important fight that will decide a new number one contender for the middleweight title. What are your thoughts on that opportunity?
BS: I love it. I never expected to find myself with the chance to get a title shot so soon. I thought I would need another fight or two so that was one of the reasons when I was told I was fighting Chael that I got so excited. This is a great opportunity for me because not a lot of people are expecting me to win this fight – I know I can win and I get my shot. Not many people that fight in the UFC will get to fight for a title. Not a lot of guys will get to fight in a number one contenders match so when these things come your way you have to be ready to take advantage of them and not take them for granted.
CH: Does it change anything for you going into the fight when you know what