In the training camps leading up to Ryan Spann’s two UFC fights, he would hop in the car and drive nearly five hours from his home in Beaumont, Texas to Fortis MMA in Dallas. That meant leaving his family and spending too much time on the road.
But after his first-round knockout win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro, Spann knew it was time to move his support system closer to his workplace. This also means that Spann can participate fully in Fortis’ strength and conditioning program, a luxury he wasn’t able to have day-in and day-out when he was in Beaumont.
“The excitement that I feel right now, being that I’ve been able to be out there [in Dallas] so long and not waste that time being on the road,” Spann lets out a deep sigh and laughs. “It’s like a brewing storm that’s just coming together.”
Things came together nicely for Spann when he requested to fight Nogueira in Brazil and took out “Lil’ Nog” and he believes that moment helped justify that he’s making all the right moves.
“That moment with Nogueira was too big to not shoot my shot, so to speak,” Spann said. “So I shot my shot and got it.”
On Saturday, he expects to make another step in the right direction against a tough opponent in Devin Clark. But “Superman” feels no need to prove anything at all.
“I never feel like I need to prove anything to anyone. I fight for my family only. I get out of there as soon as possible because I know my mom, she gets nervous the more she watches me fight,” Spann laughs before getting serious. “I don’t like to be in there long, but as far as proving anything to anyone, I don’t really care - no offense.”
Spann’s light-hearted attitude isn’t an act, it’s his way of life.
“My brother has been telling me all my life that we choose to do this, so why not have fun,” Spann said. “And my brother always tells me right before I’m getting ready to go out there, ‘You show God you’re thankful for what he’s done for you by having fun’. That’s what I do. I get out there and have fun. There’s no pressure on me.”
A big win over Clark could help Spann jump into the ranks with the new influx of contenders in the UFC light heavyweight division. But Spann concerns himself more with doing his job and feeding his family than waking up next week with a number next to his name.
“I don’t really think about that. I just do my job,” Spann said. “I fight to feed my family and to pay my bills. I’m here for two checks at least; I’ll take a third or a fourth. That’s cool too.”
Spann’s mission is clear and his quiet confidence is justified by unique athleticism and a dynamic skill set.
But don’t tell him that.
“Special things just happen,” Spann said. “Sometimes I get this feeling that something is going to happen. And right now, I got that feeling.”
Make sure you tune into UFC Tampa to watch Spann take on Clark in the ESPN+ prelim headliner. The prelims start at 5pm/2pm ETPT. Get your subscription to ESPN+ here.