Let’s face it, Stephan Bonnar is forever going to be known as the guy who lost to Forrest Griffin in the original The Ultimate Fighter finals.

He had opportunities to change that over the course of his UFC career, but “The American Psycho” always struggled against top-level opponents and was unable to get the career-defining victory that would have sent him over the top. Although he competed inside the Octagon for seven years, Bonnar’s career peaked on that night in 2005 when he fought Griffin in one of the most memorable battles in the sport’s history.

And while he never approached the level of popularity that Griffin obtained that night, Bonnar forever earned himself a following of fans that got to see him fight the majority of his career inside the Octagon.

Over the years, Bonnar became one of the most consistent gatekeepers on the UFC roster, winning bouts he was supposed to win and always coming up a bit short when he got his shot at the top contenders of the division. Wins over guys like Igor Pokrajac and Keith Jardine are enough to prove you belong in the Octagon, but you need a bit more in order to be taken seriously in one of the UFC’s most star-studded divisions, and Bonnar never provided the wins necessary to become anything more than a mid-tier light heavyweight.

However, the more one looks at Bonnar’s losses, the more one starts to appreciate how tough he really was inside the cage. Other than his final fight against Anderson Silva, Bonnar was never knocked out or submitted in his entire MMA career, and his only other losses by stoppage were due to cuts.

When you consider that all but one of his career losses came at the hands of a current or former UFC champion, Bonnar’s resume doesn’t look nearly as bad as his 15-8 record would indicate.

If there is ever a fighter that makes the UFC Hall of Fame based off his name and his performances in a few losses, that man would likely be Bonnar. And the fact that the “American Psycho” is even in the discussion to earn a Hall of Fame berth is enough to throw some fans into an expletive-ridden tirade.

However, it’s hard to deny the impact that Bonnar had on the sport in one of the most crucial times in UFC history, and despite his lackluster record, he deserves any and all praise the UFC can throw his way. Yes, he’s never won a meaningful bout. And yes, two of the biggest fights in his career were tarnished by failed drug tests after the bout took place. But you can’t deny that Bonnar did everything he could to try and become relevant again in the light heavyweight division.

From filling in on commentary for the WEC to stepping in against Anderson Silva on a month’s notice, Bonnar was a company guy, and it won’t be surprising to see him featured on UFC programming at the very least over the next few years.

Bonnar was never the most talented fighter and was certainly never close to becoming a UFC champion, but he earned his place in history when he fought Forrest Griffin all those years ago. If the UFC wants to honor him with an eventual Hall of Fame spot for that one fight, that would be just fine.

Photo: Stephan Bonnar (Sherdog)

About The Author

Vince Carey
Staff Writer

Vince Carey has been writing about the sport of mixed martial arts since 2010. Although he is just 21 years old, the Omaha-based writer is looking to provide readers with interesting content on all things related to MMA.