Marcos “El Matador” Bonilla has something more to fight for — his one-year-old son, but also the resurgence of his career.
“I’m in desperate need of a win. There’s no denying that. There’s no hiding it. I’m on a skid; I need to turn it around,” Bonilla told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview ahead of the upcoming LXF 5.
Bonilla (4-6) has been out of action since his last loss to Serob Minasyan back in 2018 when Lights Out Xtreme Fighting was still under the name California Xtreme Fighting.
Three long years without a fight. The Combate and Bellator veteran explained his layoff.
“Man, you know, it wasn’t by choice. My last fight in LXF, well, it was in CXF, was kind of a turning point for me. I really just had to ask myself questions like: do I still want to do this?”
He wasn’t in the best place mentally, Bonilla admitted. “Not to put the blame on anyone; obviously, it all falls on me, but I had just left my camp and the team I was with for all of my amateur fights and my earlier fights,” Bonilla said. “So, I was kind of trying to find myself. I was in a really emotional roller coaster type of relationship, and I went into that fight and my fights before that with a lot of weight on my shoulders. Obviously, I didn’t get the outcome I was hoping for that night, and I really had to ask myself, do I really want to do this? Like being mentally prepared is just as important as the physical. Physically, I felt great, I always put in the work, but mentally I just wasn’t there.”
“The three-year layoff, again, wasn’t by choice. I actually had three different training camps with no fights come up. I sprained my ankle two weeks before a fight in one, my opponent pulled out in another because he went out and fought the week before in another promotion, and then COVID happened. COVID canceled my fight literally as I was ready to go to weigh-ins… So here we are, three years later.”
Bonilla returns to the cage in Commerce, California, a little bit outside of his hometown of Los Angeles. He fights Arnold Jimenez (6-2) on the main card. “El Matador,” says that “he’s good, but respectfully I just think I’m better.” Bonilla says the competition he has fought has led him to think that. Fun fact: Bonilla was newly crowned Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee’s first fight.
On a four-fight skid, Bonilla knows he needs a win and isn’t hiding it, but he says his hand will be raised on Saturday, no doubt. With being a dad now, a three-year break, and possibly fighting for his career. He has something more to fight for.
“This is the resurgence; I’m here to prove to anyone that it’s never too late to turn their career around,” Bonilla said.
Watch the full interview with Bonilla above, where he talks about being a dad, working in MMA management, his layoff, Shawne Merriman, and more. The event takes place Saturday, August 7, at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, California, and can be seen on fubosportsnetwork.com for free.