Matthew Bonner – “I’ll piece him up.”

Cage Warriors have announced another trip to the BT Sports Studios in London for the CW 151 Unplugged card on March 24th. And in true CW fashion, the announcements are rolling out to leave the fans in high anticipation for the capital, a few have been announced already and what explosive announcements they have been.


Matthew Bonner is set to return to action after his phenomenal TKO victory over Alan Carlos back at CW 147, taking on Guilherme Cadena who will be looking to bounce back after his loss at CW 148.


I caught up with Matt as he prepares to kick-start the 2023 MMA calendar with a win, as he looks to once again rise to king of the Middleweight division.


Matthew ‘the Beast’ Bonner 13-8-1 is an English professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Middleweight Division, representing Next Generation Liverpool. A professional competitor since 2018. He has competed for Tankō Fighting Championship, Full Contact Contender, Shinobi Fighting Championship, Budo Fighting Championship and CageWarriors.


I’d like to Kick things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me again today Matt, and also to congratulate you on your recent inclusion to the CW 151: Unplugged card.


“Thanks, my pleasure as always, I’m pleased to get on early in the year. I always want at least 4 fights really, in the space of a year. To get one at the back end of March is good, and hopefully I’ll do this guy sometime damage then off to the next one.”


To aim for 3 to 4 is great for a fighter, and you’ve always been up for as many as possible.


“Yeah sure, I’ve never understood the thing with training camps. You’ll have like an 8 week training camp and then disappear for 3 months. Ok, have a camp in some way but really, you wanna be consistent with your training. You can take the foot off the pedal a little bit because injuries are permanent, and sometimes you need time to clear your head and get away from it for a bit. But I like to be training all the time, and working towards something.”


I’ve noticed your dedication.


As we were on the subject of training, I hope preparations have been going well in the build-up to another fan walk out in the BT Sports Studios?


“Preparations have gone really well so far, I got straight back into it after Christmas to be honest. I was pleased to get back in, and work towards what I hope is gonna be a title shot after this next one. I’m feeling super sharp in sparring, my boxing has got a lot better, I’m feeling strong, and my wrestling is getting loads better as well. I’m 32 years old now but I feel like I’m getting so much better every single fight, every single training camp. As long as I keep improving, doing better in training and putting on food fights, I’ll keep competing.”


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Age is just a number bud, you definitely have more in the tank.


Your return to the Middleweight division back in November, for many will stand out as a return to your most dominant weight class.


“It does feel good to be back. It was a fun experiment going down to see if I could compete at Welterweight, it was more of a can I do it than should I do it. I wanted to see as this time I’ve got a nutritionist  and see if I could make it down to Welterweight without doing all these baths and what not. But I think it was clear after that fight that the energy wasn’t there, the tank wasn’t there anymore. Younnever really wanna build a training camp around losing weight, you wanna build one around getting better. I did take the Oban Elliott fight on short notice as well, with just 10 days notice but I was already in the process of cutting down to Welterweight at the time. At Middleweight I feel so much better, stronger, the Welterweight division wasn’t for me, I’ll be in the Middleweight division for the rest of my career now.”


I for one, am glad to see you back taking names in the division.


And you’ve not left the CW fans waiting, kick-starting 2023 with yet another confirmed bout. Were you eager to get back out there as soon as possible?


“Definitely, March is kinda where you’d expect the year to kick off. Jan and Feb, there are not many things that are operating at that point, because of Christmas and all the rest of it. So March is when I was genuinely looking to fight again, it’s nice to get that confirmed. I do enjoy fighting down at the BT Sports Studio in London, I did ask for that show and they were keen to have me there. I’ve got a baby coming in May too, so it’s good to squeeze a fight in before then. I’d be happy to get another one in before also, but we’ll see how this one goes. I’m.pleased to get the year going, get back into training and give training more of a purpose than just getting better. You’re building towards something, it’s exciting having something in the near future.”


Oh, Congratulations man.


“Thank you mate, nice one.


Enjoy while you can, they’ll eventually be asking for Vbucks constantly like mine hahaha.




The Unplugged cards are a very different experience for the fighters and the fans in attendance. Only a lucky select few are able to witness the carnage in the cage at the BT Sports Studios in London.


From a fighter’s perspective, what is the experience like for you?


“It’s alright for me, because I’ve done it many times before. I was fighting throughout the Covid restrictions and what not, which is essentially the same thing. In fact, when the Covid restrictions were there, there were less people, there was no crowd. There were the people running around from the CW team, the cameraman and the commentary team. Apart from that it was just the fighters. So for me, it’s nice to get back onto the Unplugged show, that was where I won the world title initially, during all the Covid mess. I’m used to it, I like it, I’ve never really been too fussed about a crowd, I don’t feed off the crowd like some fighters do. If you think of someone like Paddy Pimblett, he kinda gathers the energy off of the crowd and uses it to his advantage in a way. Where as for me I doesn’t make that much of a difference, It’s nice when people are there to enjoy the experience, but I’m quite happy whether it’s at the BT Sports Studios, a massive venue or a leisure centre to be honest, I just wanna go out there and put on a really good show and a good performance.”


All business at the end of the day huh.


“Yeah that’s it. It’s business, it’s about getting in there, impressing, getting a finish and moving on to the next fight.”


Yeah, 100 percent.


The events of CW 148 saw Christian Leroy Duncan vacate the Middleweight strap and prepare for his next step on his MMA career with the UFC. Sharing the card with you will be Will Currie vs Mick Stanton for the vacant strap, a bout many thought would have your name on.



What was going through your mind when seeing the announcement by the CW team?


“The 1st initial reaction was shock, I think a lot of people were shocked. I had a lot of messages saying how has this happened, how’s this going ahead, as well as their reaction to who I’m facing in March. I knew Stanton resigned, because Cage Warriors put something up on social media about his birthday, with a happy birthday Mick Stanton post. But I was disappointed, I feel like I have been overlooked a bit. I feel I have a much stronger pedigree than Mick, I’ve got a stronger record than Mick, I’ve achieved things in the division that he hasn’t, I’ve beaten him before in a fight that was a long time ago, and chucked him unconscious with a rear-naked choke. I do feel that me and will would have been the better fight, it would have been a cracking fight. I do feel Mick could win that fight, it’s not a bad fight for him but I do kinda question why he’s there and I’m not, I’m a bit curious about that.”


No doubt with a successful inclusion, the fans will see a call out for the victor of that bout?


“Yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons they put me on the same card as the  Currie vs Stanton fight. I win, then whoever is the winner out of Will and Mick I’d hope to fight the winner, I think that would make the most sense. It’s all about me now, I need to push that to the back of my mind and put everything into my next fight. Initially the other day I was fuming, then I told myself to shut up and focus. Get yourself into a position where they have to give you a title shot, instead of being outraged and not being focused and losing the fight. Kind of a similar situation with the Oban Elliott fight, if I’d have beaten Oban I probably would have been fighting for the belt, that would have been 3 fights in a row. Oban had a few decent results leading up to that, I felt like I looked past him to some extent. I’m certainly not gonna make that mistake again, I beat up this fella, get a really good strong finish, then almost kinda demand a title shot. Just say listen, who else you gonna put up there, you gonna put James Webb up there, I beat James. The division is shallow, and I think my name just stands out in the division.”


I completely agree, successful at Unplugged I thoroughly believe it will be the fight to make.


“Yeah, I think either would be good fights for me to be honest. May, June, July or whatever, will be a much better version of me. I’m getting so much better in every single camp, I don’t see myself having too much of a problem with either of them. I think both of their weaknesses will me my strengths, I’m looking forward to seeing who wins that fight and peace either one of them up.”


I’ll definitely be looking out for that announcement.


Looking ahead, you are set to take on Team Cadena Warrior’s Guilherme Cadena, who will be looking to bounce back from defeat on the New Year’s Eve card.



What do you make of your well rounded opposition as you prepare to collide on March 24th?


“My 1st thought is how experienced he is, he’s had 30 wins and 20 losses, so that’s 50 fights. There’s  not many MMA fighters that I know of that have had 50, he’s certainly not gonna be scared of me. In terms of his recent fight with Darren Stewart, he’s very much a Jiu-jitsu guy, he’ll come in, rush you and try to take you down and if it doesn’t go his way he’s like oh ok, I’ll quit. There’s a little bit of quit in him I think, if you look at his record there’s been 2 or 3 fights where he’s retired on the stool in between rounds, you don’t see that very often. I expect him to come in strong, rush me, try and drag me to the mat, maybe even pull guard. And then about half way through the 1st he’ll start looking for an exit strategy and I’ll give him one, I’ll piece him up and be done with it.”


You’re not one to be trifled on the ground as well as the stand up game either.


“Yeah, I think people forget that I’ve fought 5 or 6 black belts now and I’ve subbed some of them. I’m only a purple belt, but I tend to be able to use my ground and pound to trick them into some kind of choke. I’d love to finish him with submission, he’s a 2nd degree black belt and is really high level, he’s won some pretty good grappling competitions around Europe and what not. I predict a similar finish to the Alan Carlos fight in terms of striking, or if it doesn’t go to the ground I think I could upset him there as well. This isn’t Jiu-jitsu, this is MMA, and looking at his fight with Darren Stewart that was his strategy. He sat in his guard, elbowed him and finished off that.”


It’s been a pleasure as usual speaking with you today Matt, I wish you all the best for your training camp, all all the best for March. Hopefully I can win the CW competition and finally catch you out there live hahaha.


“Thank you Aaron, It’d be great if you won the tickets, it is a cracking show to be fair, that BT Sports Studio is a great venue. If I don’t catch you there I’m sure I’ll see you soon enough.”


I look forward to it mate.


Last but not least do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?


“I’m gonna go out there and put on a performance, with a finish in mind. Hopefully it will be an exciting finish and exciting fight, and I’ll be moving up and fighting for a title shot very soon. Thanks to all my sponsors who are gonna be sponsoring me for this fight, I’m kinda in the process of doing that now. It’s very kind for them to give me money for what I wanna pursue in life and what not, it is really them trying to propel you forward, so I’ll always appreciate that. Thanks to yourself and I’ll see you all soon.”


Only a selection of people will be in attendance for CW 151 Unplugged, but Cage Warriors have a competition underway for tickets to their return to the BT Sports Studios. Follow the link here for a chance to be part of the violent festivities on March 24th.



Feature image by Dolly Clew

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