How the UFC came to select Stephan Bonnar to headline UFC 153 opposite Anderson Silva has been something of a mystery up until this point, but Bonnar himself has now shed some more light on how he now finds himself in the biggest fight of his career just weeks after hinting he was on the verge of retirement.
As it turns out the UFC didn’t offer Bonnar the fight with Silva first, they originally had him pegged for the co-main event slot in Rio next month as a replacement for the injured Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
“My manager hit me up and asked how I feel about fighting Glover Teixeira,” Bonnar told MMAjunkie. “And I said, ‘You know my rule. If I’m going to do this again, he’s got to have more Twitter followers than me.’ I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. That’s how I feel. That’s a measure of someone’s popularity, and I just want a bigger name. The last three opponents I’ve had more Twitter followers than them, and I’ve beat them, and I feel like I deserve a bigger name now. I really don’t have an interest in fighting an up-and-comer type, guys who are climbing their way up and people don’t really know how good they are. I’ve done that a lot in my career.”
That’s certainly an odd way to decide who you’re going to fight, but as it turns out refusing to fight Teixeira proved to be a masterstroke for the former TUF Season 1 finalist as it resulted in him reeling in a much bigger opponent instead.
“I got another text from (my manager) asking how I’d feel about fighting Anderson, and I laughed. Like, ‘Yeah. Good luck trying to pull that one off.’ Of course I’d fight Anderson – 2.5 million Twitter followers? Geez. Like this will ever happen.’ … By Thursday night, it was everywhere, and I couldn’t believe it. I played a little phone tag Friday and got ahold of (UFC President Dana White), and lo and behold, it was true.
“I think it really set in (Sunday) that I’m fighting Anderson Silva. I’m still a little bewildered.”
Whichever way you look at this fight it makes no sense, but what a remarkable chapter it is in Bonnar’s life story.
He’s already forever etched in the history of the sport thanks to his legendary fight with Forrest Griffin at the TUF 1 Finale and now has a chance to either produce the ultimate rags-to-riches Rocky story, or go out on his shield in a blaze of glory against the pound-for-pound greatest fighter in MMA.
For a guy who’s biggest win in a 12-7 pro-record is arguably against Keith Jardine, ‘The American Psycho’s’ done pretty well for himself.