After CW 96 Draw, Tim Barnett and Matthew Bonner Open to Running it Back

Back at Cage Warriors 96, welterweights Tim Barnett and Matthew Bonner had a scrap that went to a majority draw. Both fighters fought well but feel they could have performed even better. After a draw, an outcome nobody wants, both fighters are open to running the scrap back. MMA Today had the chance to sit down with both Bonner and Barnett after their fight and speak with them for a bit.

Tim Barnett, A Point Deducted

Every fighter has a beginning. Barnett’s start, in particular, was boxing. “At an earlier on age I got out of shape, so at 17, in order to chase women a little more, I wanted to start boxing. I ended up joining a boxing gym and I was absolute shite at it. I remember getting laughed at. It was a savage gym, to be honest. I used to spar very hard with people who were levels above me in an eight foot ring. It was tough. We were getting dropped with a lot of body shots.”

It was absolutely brutal early on for Barnett. “I came home with a lot of bloody noses. I got to where I was coming home crying, I was so upset. But, Something just kept drawing me back there and in the end, I actually fell in love with boxing. Towards the end of my boxing career, I started finishing people. I didn’t realize that I had that kind of power in my hands. My coach told me, ‘You always did have that kind of power,’ and I was like, fuckin’ hell, why didn’t you tell me that then?”

The transfer to MMA was more graceful for Barnett. “After boxing, I took up jiu jitsu and I fell in love straight away.” After a decent amateur career in MMA, Barnett hit the ground running. Perhaps a little too fast. Starting out 5-0, Barnett fought twice in Febuary 0f 2017, leading him to burn out and lose a fight he’s won before against Rhys McKee. Tim feels that was all mindset and after his Cage Warriors 96 fight that ended in a draw, the pressure is off now.

His fight with Bonner ended in a majority draw, as mentioned earlier. When asked if he would like to run it back, Barnett said he would like to fight again. “I would absolutely like to run it back. There were a lot of doubters. But, you know, I think I won rounds two and three but I obviously did grab the cage a few times.” It was that mistake that caused referee, Marc Goddard, to take away a point from Barnett costing him the fight. “I think Goddard’s decision to take away the point was justified. That’s a mistake on my part. I need to spar in an actual cage instead of on an open mat. That’s just human instinct.”

Barnett feels like he could have finished the fight, too, if he didn’t make that mistake. “I could feel him starting to wilt underneath me with the ground and pound. I was feeling quite tired but I was trying my hardest.” Regardless of the outcome, Barnett had fun. “To be honest, I think I enjoyed the fight a bit too much, where normally I have a sense of urgency to finish. But, I can safely say, [the last fight] was probably the most I’ve ever enjoyed a fight in my life.”

Matthew Bonner, Ready To Round 2

Matt Bonner’s MMA expierence goes a little farther back than Tim’s. “I come from a kickboxing background, really. I’ve been kickboxing since I was about 10 years old.” The Ultimate Fighter was the introduction to MMA for a slew of fighters and you can add Matt Bonner to that list. “We ended up finding out about MMA from The Ultimate Fighter. I think it was the BJ Penn-Jens Pulver TUF. It just went from there, really.”

Bonner takes a very hard look at the fight between him and Barnett, giving us his breakdown. “It was a pretty tough fight, really. It was a really even fight. The first round, I dominated with wrestling. I think I was a victim of my own success because I had success with the wrestling. In the second round, I still feel I took three and a half, or four minutes of the round. He ended up dominating at the end and he ended up dominating the third round because of the fatigue then got penalized for grabbing the cage.”

The cage grabbing from Tim Barnett is what had the most impact on the fight. “He did it about three four times through the fight. The way I see it, you get a point deducted for eye poking, groin striking and grabbing the cage. I don’t want to say he’s cheating because Tim is a nice guy, but It does affect the outcome of the fight.”

Bonner is open to run the fight back as well. “I’ll run it back, yea. It was a great fight. I think we both came out saying we will do it again sometime. I think I can look back on the fight and revise it and beat him. He thinks the same as me. He thinks he sees holes in my game he can exploit as well.”

The Big Fight Predicted

UFC 229 is around the corner and everyone is talking about it. I asked both fighters what was there takes on the upcoming super fight between lightweight champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Conor McGregor.

Tim Barnett: “I feel that Conor will always find a way. I think Khabib is phenomenal and I think that once he gets hold of anybody, it’s a terrible night for them. I just don’t think Conor will be phased, mindset-wise, with what [Khabib] brings to the table. I’ve been following a lot of [Conor’s] journey and I’m big into the science of the sport. I follow his strength and conditioning routine and it’s absolutely phenomenal. I’ve noticed that Conor does other things like swimming in the Irish Sea in the cold.

“Striking-wise, if Khabib walks in with his hands low and tries to throw strikes with Conor, yes, he can be put away. If Khabib gets a hold of Conor, it’ll be a rough night for him as well. The fight is very hard to call, but if I have to go with my heart, I’m going to say Conor will find a way.”

Matthew Bonner: “It’s a tough one. Everyone says Khabib and that’s got to be the favorite. But, Conor McGregor has got that power. He got that lead right hook. He can really do damage. Khabib doesn’t really have that knockout, one shot power. I think Khabib is going to win it, that’s what my head is saying. My heart maybe Conor can put that hand on Khabib’s chin and do the damage. We’ll just have to wait and see!”

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