Kingsbury Hunting 5th Straight Win, ‘Catapult’ with Bonnar Fight

By Joe Myers Oct 15, 2011
Most fighters want to be on the fast track when it comes to getting a title shot. However, despite posting four straight wins in the Octagon since October 2009, light heavyweight Kyle Kingsbury isn’t in a rush to try for the UFC’s 205-pound crown.

“I came off [“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8] knowing I had a lot of work to do to be able to compete at the UFC level,” the 29-year-old Californian recently told Sherdog.com. “I wanted to take my time to get better. Now, I’m on a regular schedule, taking some time between fights, and slowly building is starting to pay dividends.

“I’m starting to fight some bigger names and [UFC 139 opponent Stephan Bonnar] is a good fit for me. He’s on a bit of a resurgence and is getting better. I’m going to face the best Bonnar, and if I win this one, I’ll have a victory over somebody with some name value and could catapult into some fights with the top guys in the division. But it all starts with Stephan Bonnar.”

Headlined by a major light heavyweight attraction pitting ex-Strikeforce champ Dan Henderson against former UFC titlist Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the pay-per-view-broadcast UFC 139 will take place Nov. 19 in San Jose, Calif., a city “Kingsbu” knows well as a product of the American Kickboxing Academy.

“My camp has been great. I’ve been working with Paul [Buentello] on a lot of things,” said Kingsbury. “He has good hands and a good reach. I’ve also been working with ‘King’ Mo [Lawal] on my wrestling and Daniel Cormier has been coaching me up, even though he’s been hurt.”

With a roster which also features UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez, and welterweight contenders Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, AKA has long been viewed as one of the top camps in mixed martial arts. Kingsbury, whose recent resume includes wins over Fabio Maldonado and Ricardo Romero, noted some of the multiple positive which come from training in such an environment.

“There’s a couple of things training at AKA does for me,” said Kingsbury. “There’s always guys available to get you ready for a fight, and those guys are really talented. In a smaller gym, it might be hit and miss. There’s always going to be a variety of big guys for me to work with and there’s always somebody better than me at something. It helps having all kinds of guys to push me in different areas. I can get a lot of work in and it helps push me to new heights in all kinds of different areas.”

In Kingsbury’s latest outing, he overcame a broken left orbital bone and a withering body attack from Maldonado to post a unanimous decision victory at the “TUF 13” finale in June. It was during his recuperation that Kingsbury came up with the idea of fighting Bonnar.

“While I was out with my broken orbital bone, my managers and I were talking about who I should fight next,” Kingsbury recalled. “My coaches told me I needed a name opponent, so even if I lose, there’s still something good coming out of it. We wanted an exciting guy and [Bonnar] fits the bill. With me having won ‘Fight of the Night’ in two of my last three fights, I wanted an exciting opponent.”

Bonnar has won his last two fights after dropping three straight between January 2009 and February 2010. The alumnus of the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” most recently defeated Igor Pokrajac via unanimous decision at December’s “TUF 12” finale.

“This isn’t a fight I can look past,” said Kingsbury. “I’m fighting at home, so there’s going to be a lot of press to talk to and I’m going to have my hands full. I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish him, but if I’m technically sound, have good cardio and am aggressive, I can beat him in all areas. My job is to be as excellent as I can in all areas. Both of us are going to want to win the exchanges, win in the clinch and get it to the ground. It’s going to come down to who’s better prepared, has better execution and their timing.”

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