UFC light heavyweight fighter Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar recently rebounded from a three-fight losing streak (with one of those defeats coming via controversial TKO-cut stoppage against Krzysztof Soszynski) and earned Fight of the Night honors by defeating Krzysztof Soszynski via TKO (knees and punches). He is now set to headline the The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale against Igor Pokrajac and Heavy.com caught up with him recently to see how preparation for that bout has been going.
Bonnar discussed with Heavy his recent move from the high-profile and star-studded Xtreme Couture gym to One Kick Nick’s (both in Las Vegas), explaining that he needed more in terms of coaching than what is present at Xtreme Couture.
“I’m just the kind of guy that needs that coach. Couture’s is a great place to get work in and spar, but as far as having a coach take you and get you ready for a fight, I didn’t really have that there,” Bonnar said. “Every guy is getting ready for their fight and everybody cares about themselves. And now at this gym I’ve got a good coach who is really helping me get ready and working on specific things with me. And also, we have other guys there who are my training partners and who are helping me get ready, who are pushing me. It’s great, because when someone else has a fight coming up, I’m in there helping them get ready. It’s a good feeling with good guidance and a good coach. I like it. I feel like I’m at the top of my game.”
An alumnus of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, Bonnar made his name in his finale bout against Forrest Griffin. The two battled it out for a now-famous fifteen minutes that many credit for creating an explosion of interest in MMA and ushering the new era of mixed martial arts in the door. Despite reaching such a peak early on in his UFC career, Bonnar told Heavy that he does not feel any pressure to live up to that landmark bout.
“Not really, you know?” Bonnar said when asked if he felt obligated to perform to that level every time he fights. “It takes two to fight like that, so it was also Forrest who helped me make the fight what it was. That’s just how I fight, you know? As long as I get an opponent who brings it in a similar manner, we can have good fights like that. The last fight, Krzysztof brought it, so that was a hell of a fight. We’ll see how it goes this time around with Igor.”
Bonnar and Pokrajac will face off this December 4th at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.