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Bonnar Says he Felt ‘Guilty’ Not Brawling with Pokrajac

(Props: MMA Weekly)

Can’t exactly blame Stephan Bonnar for showing up at the postfight press conference of the “TUF 12” finale this weekend looking like the cat that ate the balding, 6-foot-tall Croatian canary. Something tells me Bonnar isn’t great with secrets, but leading up to his co-main event bout with Igor Pokrajac he did a pretty good job keeping a lid on the fact he wasn’t going to go out there and fight like the same, old swing-for-the-fences “American Psycho” we’ve all come to know, love and worry about. Nope, Bonnar looked every bit the smart and savvy vet in there on Saturday and the result was a unanimous decision win. Weird, huh?

“Everyone expected me to brawl,” says a half proud, half sheepish Bonnar in the above vid. “I knew what I was going to do, but I kind of let on that I was going to brawl. I feel sneaky, I feel surreptitious. It feels good, though. I felt a little guilty out there for not going toe-to-toe but hey, I got the win.”

Indeed. Also, someone should tell Bonnar that it’s not “sneaky” to analyze your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses in order to devise a strategy you think gives you the best chance to win. That’s just called, you know, professional fighting.


“I wanted to fool him, I wanted to mix it up,” Bonnar says. “I didn’t know how it would work out. Who knows, maybe (if) he would have stuffed my takedowns it would have been a toe-to-toe brawl, but I ended up getting the takedowns and felt like I was controlling him on top. After the second round I was like ‘Man, I know I’m ahead.’ Why risk going toe-to-toe and taking chances and risk being all ugly for that WEC show next week? … I thought it was the perfect time to pull a little fast one, pull a little tomfoolery on everyone.”

Consider everyone, including poor Igor Pokrajac, duly fooled. “The Duke” is now 1-3 in the UFC and probably headed for the unemployment line because Bonnar suddenly decided to fight smart.  Still, after five years of crazy slugfests, it’d be nice to see the “TUF 1” vet forge a new beginning for himself by taking a slightly different approach. One where he doesn’t get beat all to hell.

“I didn’t feel like I got hit a whole hell of a lot,” he says. “I mean I got those illegal knees off the bottom, but those were probably the best shots (Pokrajac) landed in the fight.”

On the topic of the illegal blows – both guys had points deducted by referee Steve Mazzagatti for uncool strikes – Bonnar says he’s not mad at anybody about it, not even MMA’s most notoriously lax ref.

“I had to tell (Mazzagatti), (Pokrajac) hit me with like three or four (knees on the ground) and I finally I had to say, ‘Steve, that’s four!’ I didn’t really care because I didn’t want to give up my position, but then I felt myself bleeding and then I said something …,” Bonnar says. “I made sure to tell him I was alright because I didn’t want him to stand us up, because I had a good side mount on him. It sucks when you gotta ref your own fight. No hard feelings to Steve, it’s a tough job – reffing — my hat’s off to him.”

Watch the complete vid for more wit and wisdom from Bonnar, including the part where he gives away the secret to his wife’s Thanksgiving stuffing recipe.

Cagepotato Comments

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JCVD as Timecop- December 6, 2010 at 3:30 pm
That headline should read "Bonnar Says he Felt 'Guilty' Saving What's Left of His Career".
RwilsonR- December 6, 2010 at 11:03 am
Not only did he fight smarter, but it wasn't like he was boring in that fight. Bonnar was incredibly active on the ground, and was constantly improving position and going for some nice ground and pound. He has nothing to be ashamed of, and I was just as entertained by this fight as I was by any of Bonnar's slugfests.

@ Chin In Eye - I do like actual articles, too, but these transcriptions are awesome for those of us who can't watch videos all day long at work.
Kimbos Bread- December 6, 2010 at 9:23 am
Bonnar needs to stick with this new and improved intelligent fighting style and add in more victory poses from American Psycho.
Swedish- December 6, 2010 at 7:54 am
I hope Bonner makes a run at the title, gotta love his personality!
Ginger Viking- December 6, 2010 at 7:39 am
Bonnar actually played to his solid wrestling and bjj blackbelt...instead of slugging it out and with Igor who landed some pretty good shots standing up...thats called common sense
Chin In Eye- December 6, 2010 at 7:38 am
Could we have less transcription and maybe more actual articles?
the glza- December 6, 2010 at 7:11 am
That’s just called, you know, professional fighting ultimate fighting.

FTFY.
Smitty- December 6, 2010 at 7:10 am
His new fist in palm, side stance pose is my freakin favorite! Ur right tho FTP, he needed some blood on his face to make it look more intense.
Flying_Taint_Punch- December 6, 2010 at 6:59 am
It was nice to see Bonnar fight a smart fight, but I was let down by his American Psycho pose at the end. Perhaps he could cover his face in fake blood the next time
Some Jaded Hipster- December 6, 2010 at 6:40 am
Bonnar seems like a legit guy, good to see him actually fight smart for what seems like the first time in his career.
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