The former Marine Corps hero reeled off consecutive victories over Mike Massenzio, Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago and suddenly had the look of a legitimate title contender.
Much of that was due to the work of coach Greg Jackson, who helped refine Stann's striking and improve his overall game.
Stann is still a member of Team Jackson, but he trained for his Saturday bout against Alessio Sakara at home in Atlanta and not in Albquerque, N.M., under the watchful eye of Jackson.
Stann's brother-in-law died two days before Christmas, a loss that hit Stann's wife, Teresa, very hard. Stann chose to stay and train in Atlanta for the Sakara fight rather than leaving his wife to grieve alone.
Instead of hands-on training from Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, Stann sent tapes of his training session for them to break down.
"Life happened and when it does, you have to deal with it," said Stann, who is coming off a submission loss at UFC 136 to Chael Sonnen. "It's been a really difficult time for my family and it just wouldn't have been right for me to fly away and leave them by themselves.
"I have to earn a living, but I also need to be there to take care of and support my family. I could train in Atlanta. There are a lot of good guys here and make the best of the situation."
Stann said he never asked the UFC to either postpone his bout or to move him off the Saturday card and put him on the UFC 145 card, which will be held April 21 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
The UFC is making its first stop in Sweden on Saturday night and Stann didn't want to back out of that.
"If the UFC comes and asks me to be the co-main event on a card, they're my employers and if they need me to do something, that's what I'll do," Stann said. "I was honored they'd ask me to be on that card on the first trip [to Sweden] and so I'll go there and represent myself and the UFC the best way I know how."
• The UFC has a significant problem on its hands if the Nevada Athletic Commission doesn't license Alistair Overeem in a hearing on April 24 in Las Vegas. Overeem is slated to challenge Junior dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 146 at the MGM Grand. Overeem had an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio of 14:1. If he's not licensed, as it looks like he will not be, there is no good alternative for the UFC.
• A group of fans have begun a campaign on Twitter, using the hash tag #RallyforMarkHunt, in an effort to get Mark Hunt the shot at dos Santos. Hunt had lost six in a row before a three-fight winning streak over Chris Tuchscherer, Ben Rothwell and Cheick Kongo. It's not nearly enough for a guy with an 8-7 record to get a title shot and the UFC would water down its belt if it gave Hunt the match.
• Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren has terrific wrestling skills, but until his standup becomes more refined he's never going to be in the upper echelon of MMA welterweights.
• Ratings keep going down for "The Ultimate Fighter: Live," with fewer than 1 million viewers watching Michael Chiesa's win over Jeremy Larsen. It's the day of the week, not the product, which has to change. Friday simply is the worst day possible to attract a large audience.
• Good for the California State Athletic Commission, which denied an appeal from Cris "Cyborg" Santos to cut her suspension for using an anabolic steroid from a year to six months. In a sport where one can literally kill an opponent, using steroids to artificially enhance one's power and strength is a serious violation.