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Stephan Bonnar Bio

Stephan Patrick Bonnar (born April 4, 1977) is an American professional wrestler and retired professional mixed martial artist and a UFC Hall of Famer who competed as a Light Heavyweight for the UFC. Bonnar was the runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter 1. His TUF Ultimate Finale loss to Forrest Griffin is considered to be one of the most important fights in the history of the UFC. He is currently under contract for Bellator MMA. For most of his MMA career Bonnar played the "role of the underdog", this is particularly exemplified in his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 153.


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Early career
  • 3 Mixed martial arts career
    • 3.1 Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • 3.2 UFC Hall of Fame
    • 3.3 Bellator MMA
  • 4 Professional wrestling
  • 5 Personal life
  • 6 Championships and accomplishments
    • 6.1 Mixed martial arts
  • 7 Mixed martial arts record
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links


Bonnar was born in Hammond, Indiana and raised in Munster, Indiana, attending Munster High School. Bonnar has an extensive background in combat sports, beginning wrestling when he was 10 years old, Tae Kwon Do at age 12, Brazilian jiu-jitsu at age 22, and then added boxing and Muay Thai when he was 24 years old. He earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do at the age of 16 and was a two-time Golden Gloves Champion in the Super Heavyweight division. He attended and graduated from Purdue University in 2000, earning a degree in Sports Medicine.

Early career

Bonnar began training Brazilian jiu-jitsu with the legendary Carlson Gracie during the summer of 1999, under whom he received his purple belt before Carlson's passing. During his tenure as a student of Carlson Gracie's he was given the nickname Robocop. This experience has led to most of his bouts ending by way of submission. Stephan now trains Brazilian jiu-jitsu in Las Vegas under Master Sergio Penha. However, he also has trained in Muay Thai during several trips to Thailand. Since the beginning of 2010 Bonnar has been training Muay Thai in Las Vegas under Master One Kick Nick Blomgren at One Kick's Gym.

Mixed martial arts career

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Due to his strong performance in the Light Heavyweight finals, where he lost a unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin in a back and forth fight, Bonnar was awarded a six-figure UFC contract along with Griffin.

Bonnar in 2007.

After his loss to Griffin, Bonnar became the staple of the regular UFC Ultimate Fight Night shows at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, defeating such notables as Sam Hoger, James Irvin and Keith Jardine before succumbing to Rashad Evans by way of majority decision. More recently, Bonnar lost a unanimous decision against Forrest Griffin in the long-anticipated rematch at UFC 62. After UFC 62, Bonnar tested positive for the banned substance Boldenone, a type of anabolic steroid. The commission issued a nine-month suspension on Bonnar's fighter's license and fined him $5,000.

Bonnar was forced to withdraw from his fight against Matt Hamill at UFC Fight Night 13 due to a serious knee injury he suffered during training. He returned to action at UFC 94 against Jon Jones, which resulted in a loss via decision. In his next fight at UFC 100 Bonnar lost a unanimous decision to Mark Coleman.

Bonnar mentioned on the MMA Live Post Fight Show for UFC 101 that he was considering a drop down to Middleweight after two disappointing losses at Light Heavyweight. Despite this, Bonnar next faced Krzysztof Soszynski on February 21, 2010 at UFC 110. Soszynski was victorious at 1:04 in the third round, due to TKO (Cut). Video replays that showed that the cut was opened up by a clash of heads led Bonnar to appeal referee John Sharp's decision. It was announced on March 10 that he had lost the appeal and the result would stand as a TKO win for Soszynski.

At UFC 116, Bonnar won the rematch with a second round TKO against Soszynski after catching him with a knee. The win broke Bonnar's three fight losing streak, bringing his UFC record to 6-6. The fight earned Bonnar and Soszynski Fight of the Night honors alongside Yoshihiro Akiyama and Chris Leben's fight.

Bonnar fought Igor Pokrajac on December 4, 2010 at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale. He won the bout via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-26).

Bonnar was expected to face Karlos Vemola on August 14, 2011 at UFC on Versus 5. However, Bonnar was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an injury and was replaced by Ronny Markes.

Bonnar faced Kyle Kingsbury on November 19, 2011 at UFC 139. Bonnar defeated Kingsbury by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-27).

Bonnar has recently been campaigning for a spot as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter against Forrest Griffin, going as far to state that he would, "Not go for any takedowns, not block any punches, and always move forward."

With the UFC needing to replace the main event at UFC 153, they turned to Bonnar and Anderson Silva to fill the spot left empty by injuries. The two UFC vets squared off in a Light Heavyweight match October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Silva won the fight via TKO. Bonnar tested positive for anabolic steroids after the fight (Drostanolone).

After his loss to Silva it was announced on October 30, 2012 by UFC president Dana White that Bonnar has retired from MMA competition.

UFC Hall of Fame

Shortly after the announcement of Forrest Griffin's retirement, Dana White announced that Bonnar and Griffin would be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Bonnar and Griffin were officially inducted on July 6, 2013.

Bellator MMA

On August 27, 2014, Bellator MMA announced they had signed Bonnar to a multi-fight deal. Bonnar faced Tito Ortiz on November 15, 2014 at Bellator 131 and lost via split decision.

Professional wrestling

On August 1st, 2017, House of Glory, a popular NYC independent wrestling company announced that Bonnar would be stepping into a wrestling ring for the first time ever to face another former UFC fighter and current indie star, Matthew Riddle. However Riddle backed out and he faced Sho Tanaka from NJPW instead.

Personal life

Stephan and his longtime girlfriend were married on October 30, 2009 in Tuscany, Italy. The couple have one son, Griffin Brandon, named after the Griffin-Bonnar fight and in memory of Andrea's late brother, Brandon Brown.

Bonnar is a fan of the rock band The Who and used their song "Eminence Front" as his entrance music to his UFC fights.

Outside of competition, Bonnar has done commentary work for televised MMA programming, notably serving as the WEC's color commentator for most of 2010, calling 5 of their final 7 cards. He has also made appearances as an analyst on the ESPN2 series MMA Live and for UFC broadcasts on the Fox television networks.

Championships and accomplishments

Mixed martial arts

  • Ultimate Fighting Championship
    • The Ultimate Fighter 1 (Runner-up)
    • Fight of the Night (One time) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski on July 3, 2010
    • UFC Hall of Fame
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • Fight of the Year (2005) vs. Forrest Griffin on April 9

Mixed martial arts record

See also

  • List of Bellator MMA alumni
  • The Ultimate Fighter

External links

  • Official website
  • "Stephan Bonnar". 
  • Ironheart Crown official site
  • Professional MMA record for Stephan Bonnar from Sherdog Edit this at Wikidata

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