Stephan Bonnar talks, his upcoming opponent Rashad Evans, the close decision against Keith Jardine, his opinion on what he feels was biased commentary by Joe Rogan, Who he didn't get along with from the Ultimate Fighter 1 and much more...
Stephan Bonnar and Sam Hoger ham it up at the Ultimate Fight Night 1 weigh ins.
Arnold The Sushiboy Lim: I want to talk about your opponent, you are going to be taking on very soon you are going to be taking on Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Rashad Evans. He moved down from Heavyweight and is a pretty talented guy. Not known as a finisher, what are your thoughts on Rashad Evans as an opponent?
Stephan Bonnar: He is a good wrestler, good boxer, tough guy, lot of heart as well, he comes in good shape and he will fight hard for three rounds. All his fights have gone that you know
you can tell that last year he had the killer instinct a little bit more. Against Imes he dropped him a few times had him in a lot of trouble tried to finish him, then ran out of energy, needed to recover. Then against Hoger he was letting his hands go, you know Hoger is a tougher guy then a lot of guys give him credit for. You have to be tough to get beaten up everyday and come back for more. He just comes across as kind of dorky so people dont think he is tough. But Rashad yeah he is going to come in shape, that is what I think of him.
MMARR: Was there anyone on the TV show (Ultimate Fighter Season 1) while you were sequestered in the house that you didnt really like?
SB: There were times yeah, at first me and Diego (Sanchez) butted heads a lot a couple of weeks into the show. By the end of it he grew on me, pretty much I saw it for what it was, he kind of had that only child syndrome, pretty much was inconsiderate of others and did whatever he wanted. Once you got used to that and accepted that, underneath we actually had a lot of things in common and got along quite well. So I didnt like him at first but he grew on me. On the other hand, at first I liked (Bobby) Southworth, but by the end of it, I was a little bit fed up with him. (Chris) Leben I am sure if I wasnt on his team I would not have liked him. We were teammates, and he slept in the bunk above me and we got along pretty good. And (Josh) Koscheck and Bobby, everyone will say this, when they were together
they kind of had two separate personalities and when they were together they had one big personality and he was kind of a prick. On their own, once Bobby was sent home, and it was just Koscheck in there, he was just the nicest person in the world, it was amazingly different. It was kind of not really dislike, but there were times when of course you got into it with people, we had our ups and downs. But no matter what happened on the show, a few months later when I would run into everyone, I was over everything. No more grudges, everybody was cool, you are not locked in the house anymore, you were part of that thing together, we have that connection so
MMARR: What are your thoughts on the editing machine, the editing monster. Do you feel that the editing (on the T.V. show) swayed viewers to see things a certain way when that was not actually the case?
SB: That is kind of an excuse people on reality shows say when they are acting like an asshole.
MMARR: Laughing out loud
SB: It is true, editing monsters, being an asshole for or being an asshole come on. If you are being a nice guy, or doing something good, chances are they are not going to show it. But if you are being an asshole they are definitely going to show it. That is the thing, people blame it on the editing monsters, it just didnt get shown.
MMARR: Obviously you were a big part of that, what are your thoughts on the level of fighters on the Ultimate Fighting TV shows? Not only your season but subsequent seasons obviously you are heavily involved with that and have seen all the episodes and such, they get a bad rap sometimes.
SB: Look at all of us from the reality shows, my easiest fight was someone who earned his way into the UFC the hard way, James Irvin. I mean I think we have proven enough, Chris Leben beat Patrick Cote, Jorge Rivera, and (Josh) Koscheck beat Pete Spratt, and Diego beat Nick Diaz, Kenny Florian beat Kit Cope, all of us from the reality TV show have done good and proven it. (Mike) wick just beat (Joe) Riggs, so I dont see that holding up anymore. People could have said that at first but now we have kind of proven that if you get all of us from the show and add up who we beat that earned their way into the UFC, we are doing pretty damn good. I think that our season especially was stacked with talent, from Leben and Quarry, Diego, Koscheck, Kenny Florian, me, Southworth, Swick, Forrest Griffin, even Sam Hoger has been doing good for himself so I think Season one was definitely stacked with some talent. We just have some really good guys, like season two we had Joe Stevenson and Luke Cummo are good fighters, Rashad Evans and Keith jardine are good fighters, Season 3 there are a couple good middleweights, I feel like Kalib and Kendall are probably the most well rounded fighters there are some good middleweights but the light heavyweights on season three, I dont see it as being as stacked as our season. You got Bisping who to me is probably the best one there and some of the other guys definitely a little less talented.
Ultimate Fighter 1 veteran Chris Leben putting his hands on Patrick Cote
MMARR: Do you feel that with the TV shows sometimes what they did was they brought in people who were quote unquote weak links, for the purposes of TV?
SB: Yeah for sure, like on every season they want to make sure that they at least get one or two guys that arent on the same level. That is just a way of proving to the audience what it takes. For our season it was Jason Thacker, they guy has had four fights and he is trained and he is experienced, but he is not on the same level so they wanted to show that. Every season they definitely do that. Kind of prove what it takes to be in there, and that it is not for everyone, and it is not easy. I am sure if all the fighters were really talented, you wouldnt see that disparity in talent, mental toughness and intestinal fortitude.
MMARR: You had a fight with Keith Jardine, it was a pretty good fight, really competitive, some people thought you didnt win that fight. What are your thoughts on the decision? Was it a case of you know you maybe didnt get the one against Forrest so maybe you got this one or what were your thoughts on that?
SB: Well I was pretty confident going in that I would get the nod, pretty much I dont know, when you watch it on TV I thought the announcer was a little biased.
MMARR: You mean Joe (Rogan) and Mike (Goldberg)?
SB: Well pretty much Joe because I know Joes good buddy and body guard Tait Fletcher ..I knew it would be biased because you know Tait from the show is Joes good buddy
bodyguard and trains with Jardine, so there is a little friend/Kin -ship there. Just watching it was kind of frustrating too, because Rogan would be talking about my leg and about how I am about to fall down. I would land a couple of good elbows on him in the clinch and didnt get credit for them, they didnt say anything, it cut his mouth open
had to get his mouth stitched, (I) got about three good elbows. Then he said things like Oh Bonnars hobbling, Bonnars hobbling! and then I throw a flying cross, if I was really that hurt I couldnt of thrown a flying cross. What else, oh yeah the third round, This is very uncharacteristic of Bonnar to retreat like this it is cause his legs hurt! And then I step in and drop him with a left hook, and I just felt like yeah it is a little biased, and the replays, I dropped him in the second round, I dropped him in the third round, and on the replays it showed him low kicking me. It just sticks in peoples heads.
Bonnar working his hands against Sam Hoger
MMARR: How were those leg kicks, they looked effective however?
SB: They looked effective because Rogan just kept saying I was limping, wobbling
but if you look, watch it without ears and you will see a different fight. I am never limping around, I am never hobbling. I switch to southpaw and launch a left kick and a left hand to follow it up, and I landed, and that is something I have been doing
the guy landed 5 leg kicks the whole fight
the fight was on a Thursday I actually ran on a Sunday, so what does that tell you? I train with Pat Berry and Duke Rufous and there have been times, I couldnt walk for five days so
MMARR: Do you have a good relationship with Joe?
SB: Yeah I really like Joe you know, that is just how it is. When I announced the Tito vs. Forrest fight I was biased for Forrest. I dont hold it against him or anything I dont dislike him because of it.
MMARR: What were your thoughts on the Forrest Fight, do you feel that he won that fight?
SB: I actually do, I gave him the third round, you know the first round of course all Tito, the second round Tito just kind of took off! It was all Forrest you know, and definitely everyone had that right, one round to one. the third round Tito actually landed some good shots at the beginning, and then Forrest landed some good shots of his own, Tito got a takedown so oh it is going to be Titos fight, but Forrest got to his feet and got off a couple more combos you know, that is how you steal a round in my books so I gave him the third round.
Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin go to war, is Bonnar vs. Griffin II far behind?
One more thing back to the Jardine fight it was a close fight but I can see why I got the decision, I came closest to finishing the fight. He really didnt hit me with anything. I can see why they gave it to me. Another reason that I read on the internet a lot a lot of people didnt know Jardine. He stopped Kerry Schall, he beat Mike Whitehead, He actually, probably did as good against Rashad as anyone, he had him hurt a couple times in that second round, but a lot of people forget about that! I read on the internet a lot of people saying like they are feeding Bonnar Tomato Cans. Oh they are giving Bonnar an easy fight, part of it was also the odds, he was a huge underdog and I didnt think that was right. He is a tough guy and I knew from the show, he is on Diegos team and Diego told me about him back then, we got a good 205er Keith Jardine, he is really tough and so I remember hearing about him back then so I knew he was a tough guy. I knew it would be a tough fight but a lot of people didnt know that. A lot of people, they didnt show his fight with Schall and his fight with Whitehead so a lot of people just assumed he was a tomato can.
MMARR: Kieth Jardine is no Tomato Can.
SB: No, but I definitely heard that a lot of people saying that like Who is Jardine? Oh some Tomato Can A lot of people think that, and they see a Tomato Can doing really good and get excited because everyone likes the underdog, including myself.
MMARR: In the end of that fight he caught you with a head kick, it caught your arm but kinda caught your face too.
SB: Oh yea, it landed square on the chops, I aint going to lie,
MMARR: How was that, did you feel that you were in any trouble during that?
SB: No not at all, if you see it I stepped back and laughed it off, it did land clean but he didnt hurt me.
MMARR: Is there anything that you would like to say in closing to the Stephan Bonnar slash UFC fans out there that will be watching you from here on out?
SB: Oh yeah, I am here to give you guys what you want to see, and I promise never to have a boring fight, and love me or hate me I am going to make it exciting.