Out of retirement, Stephan Bonnar feels no pressure heading into Anderson Silva bout

UFC Light Heavyweight Stephan Bonnar is no stranger to the limelight, having been one half of the fight versus Forrest Griffin that put modern MMA on the map in 2005. However, his next battle will be in the limelight of an entirely different sort. There, he will fight Anderson Silva at 205 lbs., in the long-standing Middleweight champion’s home country of Brazil. While absolutely no one is giving Bonnar a fair shake to win this fight, he insists that it is this exact reason why he is extremely excited for the impromptu bout from Rio:

“There isn’t anything bigger, he’s the best guy on everyone’s pound-for-pound list, he’s got 15 straight UFC victories, been a champion for six years or so. It’s great, though, because I feel like I have nothing to lose. Fighting Anderson in his backyard, I’m a record-setting underdog. I couldn’t ask for anything more.” – via MMAJunkie.com

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Quite the far cry from miring in semi-retirement with a record of 14-7. Bonnar had been campaigning for a fight against famed outspoken Quinton Jackson, but Rampage was scheduled to fight Glover Texeira at UFC 153 before being forced to withdraw due to an injury. Still, Bonnar relishes the chance to take on the champ, and it is an odd bit of coincidence considering that if Bonnar’s historic TUF 1 bout with Griffin had never taken place, Silva might not be at the lofty position where he sits today. Bonnar continued on:

“Honestly, in my mind, I was retired. Before my last fight, I felt a lot of pressure. I was a 2-to-1 underdog against Kingsbury. But I still felt a lot of pressure because I knew I had to win – and had to win and win good because then I could campaign to get that fight with ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Then I could campaign to coach ‘TUF‘ against Forrest. I wasn’t going to fight again if I couldn’t get something like that. I really wasn’t. I tried hard. I went on a lot of TV shows and was in a lot of articles and even in my talk with Dana he was like, ‘That ain’t happening.’ So it’s like, ‘Damn,looks like I’m hanging it up.’It really went from me being retired to the biggest fight I could ever dream of having –overnight. Life is funny sometimes.”

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Without being given a chance to win, Bonnar, the man who has never been knocked out or submitted, even by a young Jon Jones, closed on his detractors with a simple, yet profound, statement:

“I don’t care, though. I feel great about this. There’s no pressure on me. I’m fighting the pound-for-pound best guy in his backyard. I’m a record-setting underdog. It’s a good light-and-free feeling.”

Check out Karyn Bryant’s pre-fight interview with Stephan Bonnar, courtesy of MMA H.E.A.T., here: