Brian Stann is trumpeted as part of the middleweight elite—but he's not and he never was.
Yes, he's a brave individual, an exciting, heavy-handed fighter, but saying he's at the highest echelon of the middleweight division, and of the sport itself, is just so wrong.
Brian Stann is a plodding, one-dimensional brawler—and no, submitting the low-level journeyman Mike Massenzio does not make you a multi-faceted fighter.
Stann's popularity and exaggerated stance in the division are simply a result of (overly) marketing him via the bullet-proof gimmick of the square-jawed marine/American war hero.
After his UFC 152 loss to Michael Bisping—a loss that demonstrated just how far Stann's abilities are behind Bisping's and therefore the rest of the top-echelon middleweights—Stann is a mediocre 5-4 in the UFC.
Is Brian Stann part of the middleweight elite?
His biggest win is over another overhyped brawler in Chris Leben. The rest of his victories are over professional opponents such as Alessio Sakara and Rodney Wallace, as well as the perennially overrated former Sengoku champ Jorge Santiago.
And his losses?
His losses were to every step up in competition he ever had during his UFC tenure.
His first fight was a submission loss to Krzysztof Soszynski. To Stann's credit, he worked on his takedown defense and submission defense enough to ward off the lower and mid-level fighters and won two straight after that.
Then Stann lost to wrestling standout Phil Davis, which prompted Stann to drop to middleweight where he went on his heralded but ultimately unimpressive win streak over Massenzio, Leben and Santiago.
After these fights he was outclassed by Chael Sonnen. He was taken down with ease and eventually submitted in the second round.
One gimme fight over Sakara later, Stann was matched up with Bisping and lost.
Saying such things are not to deride Brian Stann—who deserves praise and respect for risking his life in war—but simply to point out that he's not an elite fighter, not even close.
He has a bullet-proof, time-tested gimmick that's being used by the UFC to its fullest. An elite fighter he's not, but a star he'll ultimately be if the UFC has its way and can cleverly make matches around Stann's weaknesses and promote him to no end.