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Don’t leave your chin in the gym - Hear Brian Stann’s words of advice for young MMA fighters

UFC veteran and former WEC champion Brian Stann has these words of advice for young, aspiring fighters.

Brian Stann during his UFC 152 fight with Michael Bisping in 2012.
Brian Stann during his UFC 152 fight with Michael Bisping in 2012.
Photo by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC veteran and former WEC champion Brian Stann has had a deep involvement with the sport of mixed martial arts. He’s been in his fair share of wars back in his seven-year run, most notably against reputed banger Wanderlei Silva.

Stann then transitioned into a color commentary role with the UFC, for which he got mostly praises. So if there’s anyone who can provide guidance to young fighters, it would be him.

And the 41-year-old did just that in his recent appearance on The MMA Hour where he gave not two, not three, but four pieces of advice to aspiring fighters. First, he touched on a sensitive issue among combatants today.

“Number one is save your money. Look, it’s not gonna last forever. One catastrophic injury and you could spend a whole year without making any money. Save your money,” he said.

He then spoke about branding, something many young athletes seem to get wrong these days.

“Number two, you have to very carefully manage your brand. You cannot afford to be out with some friends, have a couple of drinks, and start firing off social media posts,” Stann said.

“We live in a world where information goes quickly and your brand could be considerably damaged because something you say is misconstrued or taken out of context, and you could get really crushed by the media and fans. You just can’t afford that in this sport.”

Number three was about long-term health, which again, is often neglected by many.

“The third thing I would tell them is do not leave your chin in the gym. Back in my day, we sparred so hard and trained so hard, we left years of our career in the gym and we weren’t getting paid.

“We over-spar in this sport, we beat up our bodies too much in this sport. We need to look at it through a longevity lens. How do you arrive to your fight in the best condition, with the freshest ability to take damage?

“Because as good of a fighter as you want to be, if you start getting knocked out — look at Luke Rockhold. He’s as skilled as any fighter out there, but all of a sudden, someone who is worse than him can clip him and win a fight. So he’s probably taken some time off to rejuvenate, recoup. You’ve got to be careful how you train.”

The fourth and final word was about having a life outside of their chosen profession.

“The fourth thing is have a hobby. Know there’s a lot of downtime in fighting, and I think fighters need to understand they’re only gonna spend a very short window of their life doing this,” Stann explained. “What are you gonna do next?

“And don’t be afraid to invest in that. Whether it’s going and finishing your degree, getting a graduate degree, going and learning an additional skill, investing in a business, or doing something else, you will have to do something else for a living when this is over.

“Do not be afraid to invest some time in that. It could be healthy for you. It could take some pressure off you during your fight career, just mentally. You’ve got to be prepared and start putting in some time for what’s next.”

Stann retired in 2013, four months after his Fight of the Night banger with “The Axe Murderer.” These days, he is the president and CEO of Hunt Military Communities, a privatized housing company for members of the military and their families.