I recently conducted an interview with Stephan Bonnar for Sportskeeda, twelve months on from when I spoke with him as he prepared to venture into the world of professional wrestling. Now, in the present day, the former UFC fighter seems to be in the best shape of his life as he continues to try and echo the likes of Matt Riddle by successfully transitioning from MMA to professional wrestling.
SK: Has your transition from MMA to pro wrestling gone as smoothly as you were expecting?
SB: I mean yeah, I can’t complain. Since I stepped foot in a pro wrestling gym I’ve done House of Glory, a big show up in New York City, IWS up in Montreal, and Impact where I ran that angle that ended with a match with me and Moose against Lashley and King Mo in a steel cage.
Then I’ve got PCW where I’ve got my debut this Friday, so my goal was to stick to solid indie shows and that’s what I’m doing. I’ve been talking to the guys at MLW, so yeah, it’s going good.
SK: What has your training regime for pro wrestling been like compared to MMA?
SB: It’s not even close to how miserable it is training for an MMA fight. When you do MMA it’s an obvious kind of fun, but when you have to get ready for a fight, you literally go through hell every day and you have trouble getting out of bed. That’s really hard.
So, for pro wrestling it’s been more of a hobby. I go in there once or twice a week, and I’m trying to learn maybe one or two more moves a day.
SK: Do you feel healthier than ever in pro wrestling?
SB: My body, honestly, feels the best it has in so long. My main problem, in terms of MMA, is that it was taking a toll on me. Every day my knees would swell up and it’d be ice baths and cortisone injections. In pro wrestling, you take bumps and falls, and it’s like taking breakfalls in judo. It’s very similar, and that’s pretty much the extent of it. I feel good.
SK: What do you believe the next 18-24 months have in store for Stephan Bonnar?
SB: I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing, plugging away at pro wrestling. Hopefully, we talk again next year and I’m a little further along, and maybe I’m being compared to someone like Matt Riddle.
Really, when it comes to pro wrestling, if there are any guys I look up to, it’s Matt Riddle. I called his last MMA fight for Titan, and he told me he was getting into pro wrestling a couple years ago. He’s really inspired me, so, hats off to him.