After a seesaw start to his career, Shah Bobonis has managed to pull things together and is currently riding a five-fight winning streak.
Bobonis credits his newfound stability to the fact that he’s been able to focus more on fighting after trying to balance it along with a regular career.
“Before the last few years I was trying to work full-time and fight and it was tough,” he said. “Once I made the commitment to fight full-time and now that I’m just fighting it’s made the difference.
“When I was hovering around .500 or just above it, I was fighting when I could around my work schedule and things like that because I loved to compete. When my coaches sat me down and said that I should think about doing this seriously and see how good I could be, I made the decision and it’s worked out so far.”
By dedicating himself to MMA, Bobonis was able to complement his already solid striking with an improving jiu-jitsu game and a wrestling regimen that integrates it more into fighting rather than being a standalone skill.
“About two years ago, I made a commitment to start training with Division-1 wrestlers who also do MMA and I feel my wrestling for MMA is just maybe a notch below my striking, but very, very good,” he said. “I also went out to Alliance and picked up from things from Dominick Cruz. He said he doesn’t have the wrestling credentials of some of the people he fights, but he takes them down at will because his wrestling for MMA is better than theirs.”
Bobonis will get an opportunity to keep his winning streak going on Friday night in Knoxville, Tenn. as he takes on Cornelius Godfrey at XFC 20 live on AXS TV.
“He hasn’t really been a pro that long, but I think he’s going to be good eventually, and at 6-0 I’m sure he thinks he’s a world-beater, but I really feel I’m better than him at every aspect of the game,” said Bobonis. “He hasn’t fought anybody close to my level.
“I think he thinks he’ll have an advantage boxing, but I tend to disagree. I think he does well in MMA because he’s long for 135-pounder and most of the guys he’s fought aren’t very good strikers at all, so just the length gives them problems – that’s not really going to bother me at all. I think wherever the fight goes I’m going to be leaps and bounds better than him.”
Should Bobonis defeat Godfrey, he told MMAWeekly.com that his next goal is to establish himself as the best bantamweight in the XFC and have the promotion bring in top tier talent to challenge him.
“I already talked to (XFC president) John Prisco and he knows my plan,” said Bobonis. “I want a title as soon as possible and then I want him to sign the biggest free agents out there.
“I want to fight guys like Antonio Banuelos or (Hiroyuki) Takaya or (Katsunori) Imanari from Japan, guys like that are recognized internationally and beat them up so I’ll become recognized internationally. With the platform of AXS TV, it’s very feasible that something like that can happen.”
(Photo courtesy of XFC)