Opinion: Is UFC 153 Stephan Bonnar’s Last Stand?
By Jesse Heitz
This upcoming weekend, on Saturday October 13th, UFC 153 will take place in Rio de Janeiro. The card as a whole, as I’ve written about in prior pieces, is generally less than satisfying. However, the event does feature a few tussles that are worth noting, regardless of whether they possess title relevancy or not.
On Saturday, Stephan Bonnar will step into The Octagon to face the greatest fighter in the world, bar none, Anderson “The Spider” Silva for a light heavyweight bout. Many observers, including myself, unfortunately see little chance that Bonnar will be able to pull off the upset of the era and defeat Silva. Yet, some of us are still trying to push reality aside and root for the underdog.
Bonnar recently stated that he’s “been hit by bigger and stronger guys, and never been stopped”. That’s very true; however, this is certainly a claim that should be examined further. Anderson seems to possess a blend of power and pin-point precision that even the most iron-jawed fighters can’t withstand. The likes of Chael Sonnen, Chris Leben, and Nate Marquardt, had all fought bigger and stronger guys without being stopped, yet each of them were put down by Anderson Silva.
This is certainly an unusual test for Stephan Bonnar, a stiff test to be sure. Bonnar has locked horns and beaten some hard-nosed scrappers like: James Irvin, Keith Jardine, Igor Pokrajac, Kyle Kingsbury, and Krzysztof Soszynski. He’s held his own against the likes of: Rashad Evans, Jon “Bones” Jones, Mark Coleman, Lyoto Machida, and who could forget his legendary bouts with fellow TUF alumnus Forrest Griffin.
Yet, now Bonnar ostensibly looks to cap off his proud career with a win over a man who is on the shortlist for the honor of being dubbed the greatest of all-time. It’s clear that Bonnar’s career is winding down. Hell, he was actually retired when he received the call from UFC brass to step in the cage against Silva. He’s 35 years old, hasn’t fought in nearly a year, and has begun picking opponents that add to his legacy, all of the signs of a fighter coming to a rapid professional conclusion. I applaud his seemingly Spartan approach to retirement, to take on an overwhelming opponent with a do or die approach.
I for one sincerely hope that Bonnar can rise up and defy the odds, as I thoroughly enjoy anything that can challenge the status quo in Mixed Martial Arts. Regardless of the outcome, this fight may very well define the career of Stephan Bonnar, for this reason I hope that if he can’t walk away victorious, that he’ll at least be swinging for the fences when the final horn sounds. Bonnar has stated that he’s going “to give Anderson Silva Hell”; I sure hope that’s the case.