Brian Stann gives Benson Henderson a slight edge at UFC on Fox 10. | Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
While UFC veteran Brian Stann was no stranger to breaking opponents inside the cage during his seven-year career, he primarily sticks to breaking down the action from the sideline these days.
A former World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight champion and UFC middleweight standout, Stann retired from MMA in July of 2013 and has taken an active role in commentary for both the UFC and Fox Sports South analyzing ACC football.
If anyone is worthy of weighing in on a big time main event like the one anchoring UFC on Fox 10, it is the “All-American,” who believes that Josh Thomson’s clash with Benson Henderson from Chicago’s United Center will come down to which man is more focused when the bright lights come on.
“When you’re not focused your entire training camp -- when you’re not on everyday -- it’s very hard to turn it on the night of the fight.” Stann recently told Sherdog. “[Thomson] could have had a bad training camp, but he could still be focused on what he needs to do. We will find out. Ben’s a guy who can quickly diagnose you, and if he finds a hole, he’s going to exploit it. He’s not the guy you want to go in there and not be focused against.”
This factor could easily come into play, especially with Thomson claiming the training camp leading up to his scrap with“Smooth” has been the worst of his career due to an absence of normal training partners.
“When you get these elite-level fights where both guys are so good, I always lean towards focus. If you’re not on that night, there’s a problem. Josh is a very intelligent guy; he came out and said it was a tough training camp,” said Stann. “So if he can’t put it all together, a Benson Henderson coming off a loss who’s mad and hungry to get his belt back is probably going to be just a little too much for him.”
Stann believes that “The Punk’s” game plan should revolve around staying active and bringing the fight to an opponent who prefers to counter rather than strike first.
“I think Thomson’s going to think more in terms of volume. If you throw more in a round, you’re gonna get the 10 and your opponent is going to get the nine,” said Stann. “For Josh, he needs space to be the best, where he switches righty to lefty, hits you with combos and then gets away. He wins rounds like that.”
Conversely, Stann believes that Henderson should possess an advantage from close quarters, an edge that contributed to Stann picking him as Saturday’s victor. However, the “All-American” also believes that either way the fight goes, it will likely be decided by a small margin.
“Ben’s gotta get in the clinch; that’s where he does his meanest, dirtiest work,” said Stann. “He’s a very physical lightweight fighter. I give a slight edge to Benson, but if Josh comes focused, I can certainly be proved wrong. Whoever fights best that night is going to be the guy who wins. It’s all about that moment.”