This is a good article.Bonnar talks about his fight with Rashaad and his upcoming fight with Griffin.
Well, at least Stephan Bonnar doesn’t have to worry about anyone asking him when he’s going to be on pay-per-view anymore.
This Saturday night, Bonnar, a staple on Spike TV fight cards since his epic first UFC fight against Forrest Griffin in April of 2005, will finally make his pay-per-view debut against who else, but Griffin. To some it’s been a long time coming, but to Bonnar, this ‘controversy’ is much ado about nothing.
“It just seemed like everyone else cared more than I did,” said Bonnar, who appeared on four Ultimate Fight Night cards after his razor-thin decision loss to Griffin in ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season one finale. “They’d say ‘You gotta be upset.’ No, not really. I just heard it so much, and it really never bothered me, but everybody else seemed to think that it should.”
Unfortunately for the Chicago resident, to get his long-awaited rematch with Griffin and a shot on pay-per-view, he had to lose to Rashad Evans, which he did via majority decision on June 28. It was far from a compelling fight, but Evans clearly won by controlling the pace and location of the fight. Bonnar, for his part, was simply frustrated for 15 minutes.
“It was kind of a bad game plan,” admitted Bonnar. “I was working a lot of guillotines, triangles, and kimuras, and his last fight showed that he was open for them. So my thing was that I wouldn’t care if he took me down. I saw that he left his head out a lot when he shot and was open for a guillotine, and if you watched the fight, you’ll see that at least three times it happened where I defended the takedown all right and then I tried to wrap his head up in a guillotine, but you just give up the takedown when you do that.”
That was the difference, as the former Division I wrestler took Bonnar to the mat seemingly at will, negating any advantage Bonnar – a former Golden Gloves boxer – had on his feet.
“That’s what he worked on for that fight, staying out of those positions, and it showed,” said Bonnar. “He’s a better wrestler than me, but I definitely defend takedowns better than that. I just kept going for guillotines. And from the bottom I was just working guard, thinking I’d catch him with something, but he did his homework and I wasn’t able to.”
And when it was over, Bonnar was in disbelief at what had just transpired.
“I didn’t feel like I was in a fight,” he said. “I didn’t feel like he really fought me; he went for the positional victory and he got it. I really wasn’t expecting that and I was never in that situation before. Everybody who’s fought me, if they got a takedown they would try to beat on me and pass my guard. Then you get a scramble and that opens things up, so I really didn’t see that coming.”
Odds are that he won’t have that issue to deal with this weekend, as he’ll not only be facing a near mirror image in Griffin, but a fighter who he has a history with – and as far as fight fans are concerned, it’s a history worth repeating.
“People are expecting a lot, but if you put us both in there, I don’t think it can add up to a boring fight,” said Bonnar, 12-3 in mixed martial arts. “So sure, there’s pressure on me, but I think it can’t be anything but a good fight.”
The first battle between the two was epic, an all-out 15 minute war that left fans screaming for more.
“I knew it was a good fight when the final bell rang and the crowd was going nuts and yelling for another round,” said Bonnar. “Just looking into the crowd and at everyone’s face, the energy level was so high, I said, ‘it must have been a good one.’”
It was more than that, as evidenced by the way MMA took off in the months after the bout. Suddenly, Bonnar and Griffin were household names, and as the dual appearances from the two multiplied, these rivals became friendly rivals. No worries, says Bonnar.
“It’s just a fight. When I was growing up, I usually became better friends with someone after I fought them. (Laughs) And I’m friends with a lot of my training partners and these guys beat the crap out of me, so nah, it won’t be too hard.”
What Bonnar does know is that a win makes him a major player in the UFC’s 205-pound division, while a loss leaves him 0-2 in his last two bouts and forces him to rebuild. That’s the real burden on his shoulders.
“This fight means everything,” he admits. “It’s the biggest fight of my life once again and it’s a must-win situation. Losing is not an option, but I usually feel like that. It seems like every fight I had since being on the show has been that way. I gotta beat him.”
That means winning by any means necessary. So while another memorable war would be great for the fans, for Bonnar, he’ll take whatever he can get, as long as it’s got a ‘W’ attached to it.
“I wouldn’t apologize if I could stop him early,” he chuckles.