Brian Stann has been more measured and less manic in his training, something the former Marine wouldn’t mind seeing the rest of the UFC adopt.
The change came after Stann hurt his shoulder in June and was scratched from August’s UFC on FOX 4 to become one of the first in a summer filled with injuries that led to alterations to several cards and, ultimately, to the cancellation of UFC 151. He has used a more measured approach as he prepares to take on Michael Bisping in the co-main event at UFC 152 on Saturday at Toronto.
“I hate doing it,” Stann told FOXSports.com. “When I was in the military, we were smart about training. If you got injured, that meant you couldn’t be deployed.
"When I played college football (at Navy), we trained very smart. We maybe had two hard practices a week once you got into the season so you weren’t run down by Saturday.
“In MMA, we seem to have the attitude to go 100 percent all the time. Some fights have been lost because of it. We need to be smarter.”
The workouts, while still intense, are now more calculated and include various steps — like monitoring levels of lactic acid, which builds as the body fatigues — to guard against overtraining.
“This is something we need to evaluate if these injuries keep happening,” Stann said. “Guys are going to have to change how they train. We’re still a young sport, so we’re still feeling things out. This year has been a tough lesson.”
The most notable came when Dan Henderson injured his knee days before he was set to take on light heavyweight champ Jon Jones in UFC 151 on Sept. 1. Jones refused to take on Chael Sonnen — who was among many fighters who volunteered to replace Henderson — on short notice, forcing the cancellation of the event.
Stann hasn’t changed merely how, but also where he trains. He has chosen to train in his home in Atlanta instead of in Albuquerque, NM, home of Jackson’s MMA. Trainers from that gym now come to Stann.
“For one thing, it’s made my personal life much better,” Stann said. “I’m doing it with (Greg Jackson’s) blessing. I get the personal attention I need, and I have great guys who can focus solely on me. Just (the other) day, I was training with three black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. There are about eight of us total, and the rest of the guys are focusing at making me the best.”
And Stann said the attention on this fight hasn’t wavered, even as the chirping from Bisping has increased. Bisping has called into question how Stann’s time in the armed forces (where he earned the Silver Star medal) translates to MMA. He also has made fun of Stann’s tattoos.
“I don’t know his motives, but it seems like it’s just his personality,” Stann said. “I really don’t let it get under my skin. I don’t know him well enough to respect what he says. It’s not like my mother, wife or a friend is saying it. I’m not taking any of it to heart.”
So far, the only way this fight against Bisping has changed has been how Stann has sparred and prepared, something that is because of a bum shoulder — not Bisping’s rhetoric.