Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Virtually no one is giving the longtime pro much of a chance against arguably the best fighter in the world in Anderson Silva, but The American Psycho believes the stars are aligning for the biggest fight of his career.
Nothing about the biggest challenge of his life seems to bother Stephan Bonnar.
Not the astronomic 13-to-1 odds, nor squaring off against arguably the baddest fighter on the planet in Anderson Silva. No, instead the 35-year-old Bonnar —whose epic bout with Forrest Griffin on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, which helped launch mixed martial arts into the mainstream sporting world —views his UFC 153 bout as the opportunity to "shock the world."
"I don’t have the best luck. I’m kind of like the bad-luck kid … but every once in a while a great opportunity comes along and I take advantage of it," Bonnar told a group of media members in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
"The odds are stacked against me and no one is giving me a chance. I really like it that way. I just know what I can do. I’m not the type that is always fixed on outcomes. I’m more of the type that asks God to give me the strength to do my absolute best in there. Look at every fight I’ve ever had, I always have. I’ve been hit with lots of big shots, but I get up and keep coming. That’s what I’m going to do in this fight."
Prior to an unexpected phone call last month, Bonnar was pretty much retired from the sport he started professionally in 2001.
"I was just starting to get used to it," said Bonnar (15-7 MMA, 8-6 UFC), who hadn't fought since recording his third straight win over Kyle Kingsbury last November.
"(I think) I could have been content, but it might have taken awhile."
Bonnar, who had been lobbying UFC boss Dana White to make him and Griffin coaches on TUF and set up a trilogy fight between the two, was less than enthusiastic about the potential opponents the UFC had been offering.
So when he got the call about Silva, he thought his manager was messing with him.
"Good luck pulling that off. I couldn't get Dana to give me and Forrest a TUF coaching job, now a fight against Anderson Silva? Yeah c'mon," Bonnar said.
But sure enough, while he was down in Florida helping former WWE star Dave Bautista train for his MMA debut, his manager was securing the biggest fight of his career.
When asked if just putting up a fight, or perhaps lasting longer than the three-plus minutes his buddy, Griffin, did in his bizarre bout with Silva back in 2009, would serve as an accomplishment — Bonnar quickly said no.
"I have to do good in there. I have to give it my all," Bonnar said. "I have to fight him. I have to do a lot better than that.
I’m not too fixed on the outcome so much. I’m just going to give him hell and give him everything I got out there and do my absolute best in there. We'll see, that could lead to a victory."
While virtually the rest of the world gives him no chance, Bonnar received a call from Matt Serra, who shockingly knocked out champion Georges St. Pierre in 2007 in what is generally referred to the biggest upset of all-time in MMA, who offered a little advice.
"He gave me a call when he heard about the fight and said: 'Let me tell you brother it doesn't suck shocking the world,'" Bonnar said relying the conversation with a big smile.
Obviously that will be hard to do as Silva has never been defeated in his UFC career, but Bonnar says while there are few weaknesses to the Brazilian superstar that he thinks he take advantage of.
"You just need a little opening, a little hole, a little weakness. That's all you need in MMA," he said. "In fighting you always have a chance until that final bell rings."
No matter what happens in the fight, Bonnar knows the bout as well as the birth of his first son, which is set to take place later this month, will be the defining moments of his life inside and outside of the Octagon.
"It's all part of the story. Everything is kind of coming together the way it should," Bonnar said. "The baby being born, getting this fight, this opportunity, especially from where I just was.
"All the stars are aligning just like it did on that magical night for the UFC back when I fought Forrest the first time. I feel like I could shock the world."
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