It's the end of the road for "The All-American," at least when it comes to the Octagon. UFC middleweight Brian Stann officially announced his retirement from mixed martial arts on Thursday, telling MMAFighting.com he was leaving the sport to pursue broadcasting full time.
Stann told the site he had kept a full-time job during his fighting career in preparation for his eventual retirement. He cited his knockout loss to Wanderlei Silva in his most recent fight as an eye-opener, one that cemented his decision to hang up his gloves.
Though he was just 6-4 in his UFC career, Stann became a fan favorite with a built-in marketing hook during his time in WEC. Stann was awarded the Silver Star as a member of the Marine Corps, and was still on active duty when he began fighting professionally.
He joined the WEC with just one pro bout under his belt and quickly moved up the light heavyweight ranks with five consecutive first-round knockout victories. Stann's stand-up arsenal was clearly ahead of his ground game, but no one was able to take advantage of that fact, and he claimed the WEC Light Heavyweight Championship by stopping Doug Marshall at WEC 33.
Steve Cantwell, who was one of Stann's KO victims, won the belt from him in his first title defense at WEC 35. But Stann was able to get a measure of revenge by winning the rubber match in the UFC, taking a unanimous decision in September 2009.
A loss to Phil Davis prompted Stann to move down from light heavyweight to middleweight, and he initially seemed comfortable there, winning his first three fights by KO or submission and earning Fight of the Night honors twice. Yet he struggled when stepping up to face tougher competition, getting submitted by Chael Sonnen at UFC 136 to start a 1-3 stretch that apparently will be the final one of his career
Fortunately, Stann has a fallback job waiting for him right away. Already experienced as a commentator for MMA and boxing, he's reportedly joining Fox's college football team in the fall. He's certainly at ease in front of the camera, and even though it's not a future he expected for himself, he sounded at ease with his decision.
"Yesterday, news broke that I'm going to be branching out and doing some college football," Stann said to MMAFighting.com. "But a couple of months ago, I made the decision and just wasn't sure when I would announce it — that I was no longer going to continue fighting.
"So I wanted to use this opportunity to say thank you. The relationships and experiences I've gotten from fans and fellow fighters have honestly made me a much better person. I leave fighting having taken much more from fighting than I ever gave it."
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