SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 25: UFC Fighters Stephan Bonnar (L) and Matt Mitrione (2ndR) pose with Octagon Girls (L-R) Chandella Powell, Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer at Bondi Beach on February 25 2011 in Sydney Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Stephan Bonnar's place in UFC history is pretty well secure. One half of the Ultimate Fighter season one finale that took the sport to the next level, he'll forever be tied to the tremendous growth of the UFC.
After fighting only once in 2011, it appeared Stephan was moving toward hanging up the gloves. That appears to be the case unless his dream of coaching The Ultimate Fighter against Forrest Griffin becomes a reality, or if he's offered the right big name fight. Bonnar explained on the UFC on Fuel TV 4: Munoz vs. Weidman postfight show:
I have been doing this for 11 years and I have been through the ringer. I thought my last fight would be someone with a lot of twitter followers. If I can't get that big, marquee fight, then it's God's way of telling me to do something else for a while. I thought I could campaign hard for me and Forrest to be coaches [of TUF]. I think it would be entertaining. If I could still fight Forrest of if Rampage wants to fight again, I'd be interested. I have no interest in fighting the next big thing, before the world notices the talent the guy has. I have done that too much in my career. If it's not meant to be for us to be coaches, I've got to accept that and move on. I am fine with that.
Dana White seemed fairly dismissive of one of the "UFC job for life" guys stepping away from active competition.
Dana said on the postfight show:
He is still campaigning for The Ultimate Fighter - that is not going to happen. Last I talked to him, he talked about retiring.
I know they're big on trying to use TUF to get over big fights, but it doesn't exactly seem to be working out all that well and, personally, I think they'd do very well with a Bonnar vs. Griffin season. But Dana has no interest in that as he appears to want to keep the coaches as guys who are actively in the title picture.
If this is the end of the road for Bonnar, I'll be a little bit sad. He's a goof, but he's far more talented than most people seem willing to accept.
The first MMA event I ever attended live also happened to be Stephan's pro debut at Ironheart Crown III when he won a four man tournament with a guillotine choke over Brian Ebersole in fifty-one seconds and an armbar of Josh Kruger in just under three minutes. So, on that personal note, it was very cool to see him go from a guy making his pro debut in a civic center in Hammond, IN to one half of one of the most important fights in UFC history.
Bonnar holds a 14-7 record and would end his career on a three fight win streak.