For fans and fighters alike, there really is nothing like a fight that has a little bit more to it rather than just two names on a piece of paper. Whether it’s a fight that has title shot implications, a fight between two people who have a deep hatred for each other or a fight where the defeated finds themselves without a job, the intrigue is what makes a fight.

Ian “Hitman” Bone wants nothing more than to fight the fights that fans want to see, and that is exactly the situation that he has in front of him on July 13 at Nitro 9 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Bone is set to defend his welterweight championship against arguably Australia’s best welterweight, Corey “Major” Nelson.

“I’m looking for interesting fights,” Bone revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I want to grow myself as a fighter. I want to take the best fights in any division I can fight in.”

Bone has been through some wars (Louie Abigail/Sherdog)

Due to a lack of activity in his natural weight class, Bone is even willing to make a move to middleweight in order to chase these interesting fights.

“People have been [changing weight classes] for ages and I only want to do [it] every now and again,” he said. “But I want to fight bigger and stronger opponents and show that I can also hold my own.”

Bone’s title defense at Nitro 9 will mark his first fight in over a year. His last outing was his Nitro welterweight championship title win over Ben Mortimer. It’s a long time for Bone to sit on the sideline, but it’s certainly not time that he has wasted.

“I was expecting to have a fight a little earlier than this one,” he explained. “I guess the promotions can only really afford so many headline fights on their cards though. I took a boxing fight in between the layoff to keep in active competition, but otherwise I have just been keeping in shape and working towards the fight with Corey.

“I have been working on my boxing to keep nice and sharp and always been working on wrestling, and I think I will be able to give him a good run for his money in that aspect. I am ready for the fight, and I know that it’s going to be super exciting. I am pumped to get in there.”

Bone made his professional debut in 2007, and although he is not as active now as he was in his first few years of competing, he still wants to keep on taking fights that come his way. He does, however, know that he has limited time left in the sport and plans to make the most of it.

“I think I still have a couple of years left in me,” he said. “I have watched people go out there and talking about retiring, but it’s funny. How do you retire from a hobby? For me, there is no real point in pushing past 35. I just want to fight some guys with name value and also break into the Southeast Asian market. Once I finish up fighting, I plan to keep involved through coaching.”

Although breaking into the more lucrative North American market of mixed martial arts would be an ideal goal for Bone, he sees a challenge that he would like to undertake that is a little closer to home.

Bone wears the signs of a hard-fought war (Louie Abigail/Sherdog)

“I want to fight these guys in Asia,” he exclaimed. “I will fight anybody. After watching guys like Jingliang [Li], I can see that I am a dangerous fighter for those guys. My goal is to go in there and compete and put on a good, gritty, exciting fight. I’m not looking for easy fights, I will take anything. Last minute, short notice, I just want to get over there. My profession means that I am never far off ready and I always stay in fight shape.”

Not looking past the task at hand, Bone knows that this is a fight that so many people have wanted to see since Nelson won the BRACE welterweight title. Bone knows that the winner will be considered one of the best fighters in Australia.

“I asked to fight Corey Nelson a while ago, but the stars just didn’t line up,” he explained. “It’s the one fight that I really wanted, so it should be a great fight. We have both been kicking around for a while now, and it’s sometimes hard to find a fight that isn’t a rematch on the local circuit. There’s just no point in fighting the same guy over again, so it’s good for both of us to have a new challenge. Even though there are a couple of fights I would like to take again, I know the fans want fresh exciting fights, and that’s what we will give them.”

As far as interesting fights go, there is no fight on an Australian show that has the same repercussions as the champion vs. champion bout on the Nitro 9 card on July 13. With both fighters eying their position in the upcoming series of The Ultimate Fighter: Nations, it’s a showdown that would have been worthy of a UFC finale event.

For Ian Bone, retaining his title is the first hurdle to overcome. If he finds himself successful in his first entry into the cage for 2013, the victory itself will once again take a backseat as once again focuses on chasing that next “interesting fight.”

Ian would like to thank Advanced Fight Gear, Body Torque Townsville, Australian Sports Nutrition and Townsville Orthopedics. Follow Bone on Twitter: @IanBonemann

Top Photo: Ian Bone (top) rains ground and pound (Louie Abigail/Sherdog)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.