When Brian Stann wanted to watch an MMA fight, he usually found himself seeking out a Wanderlei Silva match.

Now, Stann is just hours away from facing the legend known as “The Axe Murderer” in the main event of UFC on FUEL TV 8 this evening.

Add in the fact that the contest takes place in Japan, where Silva became a living legend, and it would be of no surprise if “The All-American” was a little shell-shocked standing in the cage.

For Stann, though, all of that is of no value right now. Instead, he’s focusing solely on the fight; afterwards will be a time for reflection and hopefully friendship.

“My favorite fighter was Wanderlei Silva,” said Stann, during the pre-fight press conference earlier this week. “Watching his fight in PRIDE, I would marvel at his tenacity in the ring, and the way he carried himself outside the ring. I am so happy to get this opportunity to face him in his return to Japan. I am very honored to be his opponent.

“(But) I have to put all that (other stuff) aside for right now. Sitting here now, I look across at Wanderlei Silva and he’s forgotten more about MMA than I will never know. But I have to put all that aside, put on the best performance I can to beat him.”

Stann, a former WEC champion, also confirmed that he will return to middleweight after this bout.

As for that friendship path, he stated, “like everyone I’ve fought before, I have life-long relationships with (them). Hopefully I can have that with Wanderlei, as well.”