Matthew Bonner is set to return to middleweight following defeat at Cage Warriors 142.
Cage Warriors 142 is in the books, and it had an array of promising and decorated British fighters, one of the biggest names on the card was Former Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion Matthew “The Beast” Bonner. Bonner (12-8-1) fought in the co-main event against Wales’ own Oban Elliot (6-2).
Elliot would go on to win the fight by unanimous decision, in a fight that Bonner believes “wasn’t me at anywhere close to my best”. The Cheshire-born fighter is well-known for his ability to win a bout anywhere the fight takes him, sporting 3 KOs/TKOs, and five submissions. Bonner has never been finished in his professional career, and this is made even more impressive when you see his aggressive, forward-moving fight style.
The Lead up to Cage Warriors 142
Matthew Bonner is something of a ‘late bloomer’ in MMA. Before September 2020, Bonner held a professional record of 6-6-1 before going on a 4-fight win streak, which concluded in him winning the Cage Warriors middleweight belt from Mathias Frederick at Cage Warriors 123, where he won by Rear Naked Choke in the 4th round. His win streak ended in October 2021, where at Cage Warriors 131, Bonner would lose by unanimous decision to undefeated Ivorian fighter Djati Melan. Bonner regained his momentum after this loss by moving to welterweight and beating Hugo Pereira at CW 135 and Joel Kouadja in the main event at CW 137, both by rear naked choke in the second round. Unfortunately for “The Beast” at Cage Warriors 142 in Wales, the “Welsh Gangster” Oban Elliot (6-2) defeated Bonner by unanimous decision.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Matthew Bonner a few days following his defeat to Oban Elliot and to ask him about his future plans.
Interview With Matthew Bonner
Which weight class will your next fight be at?
Nothing is 100%, but middleweight is most likely.
What are you looking to improve on and do differently in your next fight?
Just about everything, honestly, Boxing needs to be tighter, and I need to establish a stronger jab and increase my volume of strikes. Takedown defence and scrabbles need work. Footwork needs improvement. I do all of this reasonably well in the gym. It just didn’t translate over to the fight, unfortunately.
What are your short-term and long-term goals within the sport?
The short term is to win the next fight. That makes four fights this year. If I win the next one, then winning 3/4 would still be a reasonably successful year. Long term. Establish myself again in the middleweight division. Win the middleweight belt this time next year
Do you prefer to fight in the stand-up, or do you feel more comfortable on the ground with your opponent?
That’s a tough one. I’ve had more success recently in the grappling department. It depends on the style of your opponent and how your skills match up with theirs. I certainly feel it’s easier to win on the ground, but it’s more satisfying to win by TKO/stoppage.
When are you aiming to fight again?
November/December, I think, would work. I’ll need a bit of time to build up a good size middle, but that shouldn’t take too long. When I was welter, you were almost at a calorie deficit a lot of the time. Now I can eat more. My body will suck up all those extra calories and get quite a bit bigger in no time.
Finally, is there anybody that you’d like to fight next or think would be an interesting match-up?
I’m a little unsure of the landscape now in the middleweight division. My focus was on the welterweight division, so I didn’t really keep up with what was happening at middleweight. I’m open to fighting whoever. I want to show everyone that my last performance wasn’t me at anywhere close to my best. I ran through elite fighters at middleweight and intend on repeating that once again.
Featured image credits to Dolly Clew