This past week, Brian Stann announced his retirement from fighting at the age of 32.

Many will look at his age and say it is too early to hang up the gloves. However, you have to look at everything “All-American” has done in his career, in and out of the cage. Stann is a former Marine who served in the military from 2003 to 2008, earning recognition for his service on multiple occasions. Stann began fighting professionally in 2006 while he was still on active duty, which in itself can be a struggle. Having to focus on two jobs at one time is no easy task, especially when bullets are flying your way in one occupation and fists are flying your way in the other.

In his mixed martial arts career, Stann compiled a record of 12-6 in his seven years of activity. After a win in his professional debut, he signed with the World Extreme Cagefighting promotion and won by TKO in just 16 seconds in his promotional debut. Stann won his next three fights before earning a light heavyweight title shot against Doug Marshall at WEC 33 on March 26, 2008.

Stann captured the title by winning in the first round for the sixth consecutive time. Becoming a champion will always be considered one of the top highlights of his MMA career, but his time with the belt around his waist was short-lived. In his first title defense, Stann took on Steve Cantwell, whom he just defeated the year prior by first-round TKO. However, Stann didn’t fare so well in their rematch and lost the belt by second-round TKO after holding the title for only five months.

Even with the loss, Stann got the call to fight for the top organization in the world, the UFC.

Stann joined the UFC in 2009 in a match-up against Krzysztof Soszynski. Stann lost by submission in the first round, but bounced back to defeat Cantwell in a rubber match and also topped Rodney Wallace. The light heavyweight took a step up to fight a young, promising fighter in Phil Davis at UFC 109 and was handed his second loss with the promotion.

This was another time where Stann had to be resilient, as he had been in his entire life. He needed to turn things around to keep his full-time career going in the right direction.

To do so, Stann decided to make a move down to 185 pounds, a weight he had never fought at before. He worked his tail off to cut the weight and made a huge impact at the new weight class by winning three straight fights against Mike Massenzio, Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago. Other than his run through the WEC ranks and subsequent title reign, the span from 2010 to mid-2012 was the best stretch of Stann’s MMA career. Those fights allowed Stann to be considered a top-10 middleweight in the UFC and helped build the fan base he still has to this day.

The biggest opportunity of his tenure came at UFC 136 in October 2011 when he took on Chael Sonnen, who was coming off a title loss to Anderson Silva. Stann pressured Sonnen from the start, but ultimately was submitted in the second round.

Stann remained positive, however, and came back strong to knock out Alessio Sakara in April 2012 in Sweden. Having been a respectful fighter and a respectful person his entire life, Stann only increased his reputation for sportsmanship in this fight. After dropping Sakara, Stann used vicious hammerfists while on top of his opponent. Stann noticed that Sakara was knocked out, and instead of adding unnecessary blows, he told the referee that Sakara was out and the ref stopped the fight.

Following the win, Stann was matched up with contender Michael Bisping at UFC 152. This was yet another opportunity for Stann to put himself in title contention, but he lost by unanimous decision.

His next and final bout in the Octagon will be known as the most exciting fight Stann has ever been in. He moved back up to 205 pounds to take on MMA legend Wanderlei Silva in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Saitama, Japan. Both men traded leather as soon as the bell rang, which turned the fight into a barnburner of a collision. However, Stann got caught in an exchange during round two to give Silva his 25th knockout win.

Even in defeat, Stann handled himself extremely well by giving his opponent props in a classy post-fight interview. No one knew it at the time, but it would be the last time Stann would exit the Octagon. What more appropriate place to end his career than in Japan, the country where he was born.

The legacy of Stann may be tarnished by the fact that Stann never solidified himself as a true No. 1 contender in the UFC, but there are certainly more positives than negatives in his career. He will always be considered one of the true good guys of the sport with the amount of praise he receives from fans around the world.

Instead of seeing Stann on Saturday nights delivering explosive knockout wins, we will see him doing something else he has embraced over the years: broadcasting. Stann has been an analyst for events on both Fox and Fuel TV, and he will continue in this role while also covering college football games on Fox Sports South.

No matter how he spends the remainder of his life, Stann will always have an impressive resume. Former Marine, former mixed martial artist, husband, father, analyst and a man of true character and class.

Photo: Brian Stann (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.