UFC 152 will be a big night for many fighters who step inside the Octagon at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
Which fighter stands to gain the most in Toronto? "The All-American" Brian Stann.
Sure, Vitor Belfort has the golden opportunity of fighting for the UFC Light Heavyweight crown, and Demetrious Johnson & Joseph Benavidez will contend for the first-ever Flyweight Champion, but they are already where they want to be.
Those fighters are fighting for UFC gold. Brian Stann has the opportunity to put himself right with the elite.
Stann has gone 4-2 since 2010, but is 4-1 in the middleweight division. His only loss came at the hands of former contender Chael Sonnen in the fall of 2011. After picking up a knockout victory over Alessio Sakara in Sweden, Stann finds himself in another big middleweight fight at UFC 152.
Even though Michael Bisping is coming off of a loss to Sonnen himself, he is still in title contention. Make no mistake that the victor of this fight will be thrust back in to the title discussion. Stann knows how close he is to getting a shot at Anderson Silva and told MMAWeekly.com that it will take another win or two to earn that right:
“It’s just because of the depth of the division. If the division wasn’t that deep then I could get away with doing that. I could get away with saying, ‘hey, I just beat Michael Bisping; one of the very best in the world. I want my shot.’ But you’ve got the Weidmans, you’ve got the Boetschs, you’ve got the Alan Belchers all out there, and I think we’ve got a little mini tournament set up. So it’s going to take another one or two wins for each guy to justify a shot against the greatest of all time.”
When looking for the next challenger for Silva the UFC brass will not only look at wins. They will look at marketable fighters, and there is none more marketable than Stann.
The former Marine continues to blossom under the bright lights of the UFC in and out of the Octagon.
He finds himself representing the company on the FOX networks in the booth. He is eloquent when he speaks and puts the sport's best foot forward on its biggest stages.
He is the perfect clean cut fighter to stand opposite Silva on a poster. The fight would sell. That is just as big as being on a multiple fight winning streak.
The next middleweight title fight will not be until 2013. All middleweights will need one more scrap before challenging Silva, but a win over Bisping will elevate Stann in to the upper echelon of the division.
Being put up against the pound-for-pound greatest fighter on the planet is the biggest prize. Few have the opportunity to say they have challenged the best ever. Stann is almost to that point in his career.
Coming out the winner at UFC 152 can make Stann's fighting career.
If Stann pulls off the upset in Toronto expect to hear his name pop up in discussions about who will be the next challenger for the UFC middleweight crown. That positions him as the man with the most to gain at the Air Canada Centre.