When the UFC refused to adhere to the request of Stephan Bonnar and give him a big-name fight against a popular star, the Ultimate Fighter alumnus went into an unofficial retirement from competition and focused on training others.
One motorcycle accident later, Jose Aldo was injured and the UFC needed a new main fight for a Brazilian event. With Anderson Silva volunteering to step in on short notice at light heavyweight, the Zuffa crew was tasked with finding a suitable opponent at 205 pounds who had some name recognition and the courage to fight The Spider with limited time to train.
Here is a look at what went wrong for Stephan Bonnar.
Agreeing to fight Anderson Silva on one month's notice
When people call Anderson Silva the best fighter in the history of the sport, that is not a marketing ploy. There is no smoke and mirrors to distract you from fatal flaws. There is no gimmick or trickery of any kind.
For any man to take a fight against Silva on short notice is a nightmare.
For Stephan Bonnar to do it is a death wish.
Agreeing to face Anderson Silva at all
Let's be honest here. Short notice or not, Stephan Bonnar is not the caliber of fighter who could dethrone Anderson Silva. Even if Bonnar had a full training camp, signing his name on the dotted line was a mistake that I think he will regret.
Inability to work the fight to the canvas
Would the legacy of Stephan Bonnar have been better served by living up to the slugfest he once promised?
In the opinion of many, the only way that Stephan Bonnar would win this match is if he got on top of Silva and used his size advantage to steal a couple of rounds. Shooting for a takedown in the fight's first 15 seconds, Bonnar would be unsuccessful in his attempt to drag the middleweight champion to the canvas, even with double underhooks.
Once the fight began, Bonnar was able to obtain a clinch and back Silva up against the cage. With some dirty boxing on his side, he landed shots on The Spider, but not the kind of punches that could win him a fight.
Not letting it all hang out
The "play it safe" style of fighting was on display in Stephan Bonnar's fights with Kyle Kingsbury and Igor Pokrajac. It made sense. Why take a chance in losing against an up-and-comer when he can build some momentum and leverage it into a big fight?
"I won't go for any takedowns. I won't block any punches. I'll just be moving forward. I'm serious I would just go and slug it out and try to top our first one. What the hell do I have to lose? I want to give the fans a good one."
Bonnar is a smart guy, and he knows that his legacy will ultimately come down to the fight with Forrest. But what does it say about his career if the first UFC fight of his 15-fight tenure is the only one that people remember?
What has he accomplished since that time?
If Stephan Bonnar had come out and tried to put on a slugfest, the result of this fight likely would have been the same; however, he would have gone home with no regrets and his courage under fire against the world's greatest MMA striker would be a testament to his testicular fortitude.
There are a lot of things that went wrong for Bonnar, but let's give this warrior his due.
Agreeing to this fight couldn't have been easy and he walked into the lions den by fighting Silva in his home country.