10-07-2012, 09:24 AM
Status: Leben 'em dead and maimed
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Dave Bautista: Stephan Bonnar 'beat the living hell out of me' after Anderson Silva booking | MMAjunkie.com
Former WWE star Dave "Batista" Bautista didn't get into MMA to prove anything to fans. |
He simply wanted to prove something to himself – that despite being 43 years old, he could still do it.
But to do that, he needed to prove something to his training partners. That got all the harder when one of them, Stephan Bonnar, got booked to meet perhaps the greatest MMA fighter in history.
Bonnar was one of Bautista's training partners at Gracie Tampa ahead of his pro debut, which took place Saturday. Facing 46-fight veteran super heavyweight Vince Lucero (22-23-1), Bautista (1-0) survived an early flurry of punches before posting a first-round TKO victory. The bout headlined the "CES MMA: Real Pain" pay-per-view event at Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.
Bautista went through an eight-week camp for the fight. It got a bit tougher a few weeks ago when Bonnar learned he'd be coming out of semi-retirement to fight MMA's pound-for-pound kingpin, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, at this coming weekend's UFC 153 event in Brazil.
"I don't know if [working with me] energized him, but the day he got the call for Anderson Silva, he came to practice the next day, and he beat the living hell out of me," Bautista told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com) after the fight. "And I think it's because he put his game face on. It was a different Stephan Bonnar."
Bonnar's fight comes Saturday in a non-title light-heavyweight bout. It's the fan favorite's biggest career opportunity, and it came on short notice. But Bonnar found time to call Bautista before his fight.
"I think Stephan Bonnar is going to be a little disappointed," he said. "He called me, and the two things he said was, 'Keep your hands up and your chin down.' And I did neither of those things. I think I was so nervous. ... I was terrified walking out there."
Still, he composed himself, absorbed Lucero's early blows, and scored a double-leg takedown. After taking the back-mount position, he rained down punches to force a TKO stoppage.
It wasn't exactly the most technical or promising MMA start, but Bautista got the win. Still, he didn't need it to feel this latest endeavor was worthwhile.
"My head coach, Josh Rafferty, said, 'We're all so proud of you, you went through a two-month camp, you never bitched, you never complained, you showed up for every practice, you never asked for a practice off, you never asked for a round off, and you gave everything you have,'" he said. "And that meant more to me than getting my hand raised tonight."
Last edited by Cat--Smasher; 10-07-2012 at 09:32 AM.