(Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly)
By Jonathan Shrager
Brian Stann‘s accomplishments in MMA and military heroism are matters of public record. But what about the man himself? As the UFC middleweight contender heads into his pivotal co-main-event against Alessio Sakara at UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs. Silva this weekend, we spoke to the All-American about everything from his childhood to his intense training to his various pursuits outside of fighting. Enjoy, and follow Brian Stann on twitter @BrianStann.
CAGEPOTATO.COM Hi Brian, many thanks for the opportunity to conduct this interview. I read that you played football as middle linebacker at the Naval Academy. How good were you at football? Do you think you could have made the NFL?
BRIAN STANN: No, not even close. When I played football in college, I was recruited to play quarterback. My style was more to pass than run the option. Quarterback didn’t really work out, so I got moved around to a lot of different positions before finding a home at linebacker. It was a position I had only played sparingly at high school, so I had to learn the position while actually playing at a competitive level. I was always a good athlete, but quarterback was my primary position, and I never really had the stuff to play in the NFL.
Going back even further, you were actually born in Japan, at Yokota Airbase. Were your parents in the armed forces?
Yes that’s true. My father was in the air force, so my family was stationed at the airbase. My mom left with me and my sister when I was two years old, and we moved back to Scranton, Pennsylvania. I pretty much lived there until I left for college.
Obviously you were very young so you might not remember, but being born there, do you feel any affinity with Japan at all?
Yes I do. When I was young, The Karate Kid was big, and I always thought it was really cool that I was born there. My mother and I made this promise that one day in the future we would return to visit Yokota and that she would show me all the different spots, and reminisce, since I don’t remember anything. So there’s certainly an affinity there, and when my fight career is over and I’m not constantly in training, my mom and I will make that trip.
So, you were born in Japan, raised in Pennsylvania, currently live in Georgia, train out in New Mexico, and fight everywhere. Where do you consider home now? You must feel a little displaced at times with all the traveling.